Biscuits. Buttery, sweet/ savory double threats that go just as well on a benedict as they do with some jam.
Sausage gravy. Savory, salty, smothery goodness that can be a side dish or center piece to a good brunch.
Individually, these are both things I would like to see in a brunch spread. Together? They’re a comforting, indulgent, satisfying breakfast all on their own. But, of course, there are ways this dish can go wrong. Hence the tale of two gravies.
No, I don’t have a specific memory of the first time I went to Cracker Barrel and had biscuits and gravy. It was a military family early on, and we were on the move from the time I was 2, so I’m sure that my first “general store experience” happened way before I was forming conscious long-term memories. I have have, however, been in my adult life, and somehow the checkers mat by the fireplace doesn’t make up for the BLAND gravy. Which is pretty much the worst thing that can happen to sausage gravy. As long as the sausage is good, and your bechamel doesn’t burn or get lumpy, the only other thing you can do to the gravy is to under-season it. Combine that with the dusty biscuits that are served with pretty much every meal, and you have the makings for a depressing breakfast.
The Queen Vic
On the H street corridor in Washington, D.C., there is an English pub called the Queen Vic. It’s open the odd early morning for patrons to watch some European footie, and has a long list of imported beer. But, perhaps most surprising, is the food. The Queen Vic has a solid menu filled actually very delicious English food. The brunch menu is no exception, sporting the the broadest and, in my experience, best selection of savory brunch items of the city. The biscuits and gravy are right up there with the top choices. Beyond the perfect seasoning, the secret, I think, is that the high quality breakfast sausage is broken up into very small pieces, giving a unique texture to the gravy. The biscuits are very large and pillowy, but I can’t say much about how they look because they’re totally covered in the delicious gravy and crispy breakfast potatoes. If you have a chance to stop in and try it, I highly recommend doing so.
My take on the dish simpler version of the gravy, with more butter-centric, slightly smaller biscuits. I think this dish is very manageable from home, and if you’re not into a lot of extra work in the morning, you can always make the biscuits ahead, freeze them, and bake them in the morning. Here’s the instructional video:
The recipe for the biscuits, based on Cathy Roma’s recipe can be found here
- 1 lb Breakfast sausage
- 3 Tbsp butter
- 1/4 C flour
- 3 C Milk
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Remove sausage from casing, break up to small pieces
- Add sausage to a cold pan. slowly bring up heat to allow fat from sausage to render. Cook sausage though completely and remove from pan, leaving any excess fat in pan.
- Add butter to pan to make 4 total tablespoons of fat. Melt butter. Add flour and whisk to combine.
- Cook roux until raw flour taste is cooked out and begins to smell nutty.
- Add about 1/2 cup of milk and whisk until totally combined.
- Repeat with about 1 cup milk. Whisk until fully incorporated.
- Add the remaining milk. Keep at a simmer while whisking constantly until desired thickness is achieved. Keep in mind that the gravy will thicken as it cools.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add sausage back to gravy. Mix to combine and let cool slightly before serving.