Biscuits and gravy were always a favorite breakfast at Mitchell Hall during my Air Force Academy days (maybe during Dad’s as well?).  I made this version of the southern breakfast classic as part of a Mother’s day breakfast, and it was much better than the Mitchell Hall version.  Okay, that’s not saying too much, but this really was good.  Maybe not the most healthful meal we’ve had, but it was good for the soul if not the arteries (sorry I didn’t take any pictures).

Sourdough Biscuits:

Makes 12-15 biscuits (can be scaled as necessary)

  • 1 cup active sourdough starter
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 1/4 cups flour (I might try dropping it to 2 cups next time)
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 T. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 T. cold butter (not margarine), cut into small cubes

Preheat oven to 425F.  Whisk the starter and milk together in a bowl.  In a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients (flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda).  Drop the cubes of cold butter into the flour mixture and rub it into the flour with your fingers (or a pastry cutter) until you have a coarse mixture with several small chunks/flakes of butter evenly distributed throughout.  You could use 4-6 tablespoons of butter if you wanted to kick them up a notch, but I thought it would be kind of pointless underneath a rich sausage gravy.  Combine the flour mixture with the starter/milk and stir until just combined.  Turn the dough out onto a floured countertop and gently knead it by flattening it out anf folding it in half on top of itself 5-10 times.  This will help get the flaky, layered effect where the biscuits are naturally cracked around the edges and easy to split in half by hand.  Gently roll the dough out to about 1/2  to 3/4 inch thickness and cut out the biscuits with a cutter or drinking glass (I used a heart-shaped cookie cutter to show our love for Mom!).  It helps to dip the cutter in flour since the dough will be quite sticky inside.  Place the biscuits on a cookie sheet, optionally brush the tops with melted butter, and bake for 12-15 minutes until the begin to turn golden on top.

Sawmill Gravy (adapted from Paula Deen):

I cut this recipe in half, figuring that only Amie and I would eat it, but the full recipe here should be good for 4-6 people

  • 1 pound ground sausage (I used the sage-flavored variety–yum)
  • 4 slices thick-cut bacon (sliced into small pieces)
  • ½ medium onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • Salt and papper to taste (I also used some paprika, which gave it a reddish tint)
  • 2 cups milk (the original recipe called for half-and-half, but let’s no get crazy)

In a large skillet, combine the sausage, bacon, onion, and garlic. Cook over medium heat until the sausage is browned and crumbles. Stir in the flour, salt, and pepper; cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Use lots of fresh-ground pepper, but hold back on salt–it will be plenty salty from the sausage and bacon.  Gradually stir in the milk. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture is thickened. Add more milk if it gets too thick.  Serve the hot gravy ladled over hot biscuits.  Heavenly.