My friends in Studio 5 have been asking me to make biscuits and gravy. This is a pretty standard dish that I enjoyed growing up in Houston. A big Texas country breakfast at the Johnson household would include biscuits and gravy with scrambled eggs on the side or grits with eggs over easy, bacon, toast with homemade strawberry fig jam and fresh fruit, usually sliced cantaloupe. This week I'm sharing my recipes for both the biscuits and gravy and the strawberry fig jam. I've modified my mom's biscuit recipe a bit by using yeast and butter instead of shortening in the biscuits. But, I think they are still quite tasty. For the jam recipe, I had to use dried figs because the season is a bit shorter up north and fresh figs aren't available yet.
Even with those little tweaks and changes to my mom's recipes, the result is still a big hearty breakfast. Because this is such a heavy meal, I usually don't do it more than once a month. But, it's definitely a guilty pleasure.
Strawberry Fig Jam
makes about 2 1/2 cups
1 lb Fresh Strawberries, hulled and chopped
7 oz Dried Figs
2 cu Sugar
3 tbl Lemon Juice
1 tbl Lemon Zest
1 1/2 cu Boiling Water
Inspect each fig for stems. If there's a hard stem, cut it off and discard. Put figs in a large bowl and cover with the boiling water. Let the figs soak for 1 hour. After an hour, drain the bowl and reserve the liquid. Roughly chop the figs and put them in a large pot. Add the strawberries, sugar, lemon juice, lemon zest and 1 cup of the water used to soak the figs. Bring mixture to a bowl and lower the heat slightly to keep mixture at a medium boil for about 20 minutes. Temperature of the mixture should reach 220 degrees F. Turn of heat and either mash the ingredients with a potato masher or roughly blend them with an immersion blender. Allow ingredients to cool and then transfer jam into a sealable container and refrigerate until ready to use.
makes about 10
1 tsp Active Dry Yeast (half of a standard packet)
1/2 cu Warm Water (about 110 degrees F)
3 cu All Purpose Flour
1 tsp Baking Powder
1 tsp Baking Soda
1 tbl Granulated Sugar
1/4 tsp Salt
1/4 cu Butter, cut into small pieces
1 cu Buttermilk
2 tbl Butter, melted
2 1/2" - 3" biscuit cutter
Mix together the active dry yeast and 2 tablespoons of flour. Stir a small amount of the warm water into the mixture to moisten the dry ingredients. Then, pour in the remaining water into the bowl and stir to combine. Let the mixture stand for 15 minutes as yeast activates.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Put flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar and salt into a large bowl and stir to combine. Add butter and mash ingredients to gather with your hands until it resembles a coarse meal. Stir in yeast mixture and then buttermilk and mix until a dough forms. Don't over mix the ingredients. Spread the dough on a lightly floured board to a 1" thickness and cut biscuits using the cutter. Reshape the extra dough to use all of it. Place the biscuits on a baking sheet, about 1/4" apart from each other (they'll expand and be touching when done baking), and bake for 20-22 minutes or until lightly golden on top.
makes 2 cups or about 4 servings of about 1/2 cup each (double the recipe for larger appetites or more servings)
1/2 lb Pork Sausage, the type that are packaged in 1 lb logs
2 tbl All Purpose Flour
2 cu Whole Milk
1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Pepper
1/2 tsp Fresh Sage (optional), finely minced
Mash the sausage in the bottom of a large saucepan over medium high heat. Stir the meat as it cooks and continue to break it into smaller pieces. Once the meat has cooked through, about 5 minutes, add flour and sage (optional) and stir for an additional minute as flour coats the meat and browns slightly. Add milk and stir constantly until mixture thickens, reducing the heat if it starts to boil. Season with salt and paper and serve over biscuits that have been split open and placed on a serving plate.