Jackie Wilson Asheeke
Money is seriously tight. This old southern recipes can feed the family and not throw your wallet out of the window. These days, there is a resurgence of old school soul food cooking by mainstream white recipe books, magazines and TV shows as if the biscuits and gravy I’ve had all my life is something newly discovered. Cultural appropriation is not a good thing.
Forget any recipe for biscuits and gravy that reads like one of the TV food shows. This is a down home, po’ folks meal that does not need Master Chef or Gordon Ramsey. For example, written versions of this recipe use the pretentious term “roux” when it is just sausage drippins’ in a pan stirred together with flour, onions and a tiny bit of water to thin it out.
It is hot buttered, buttermilk biscuits smothered in sausage gravy – simple and easy.
2 1/2 cups self-rising flour (plus extra for flouring your kneading surface)
2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
4 Tbsp shortening
4 Tbsp butter, (cut off chunks from a frozen block of great tasting butter)
1 cup buttermilk
1 lb pork or game or beef sausage – go for it or mix them.
1/2 cup chopped onion
6 tbsp flour
4 cups whole milk
1 tsp beef stew seasoning or a bouillon cube
1/4 tsp salt (watch out on this – the seasonings also have salt!)
1-2 dashes of Worcestershire sauce (also has salt!)
2-3 dashes of a great tasting hot sauce or cayenne pepper
1-2 tablespoons of bacon grease
Preheat oven to 232˚C. Clear a floured surface for kneading, rolling out and shaping the dough. Make sure you have a cookie sheet, ungreased, ready for your biscuits.
Whisk together flour, sugar and salt in a medium-sized bowl.
Use a fork and cut in the shortening and butter. It is hot in Namibia, so you need to move so things don’t melt too fast. The mixture should be crumbly.
Make a hole in the flour mixture in the large bowl, and pour in the buttermilk. Stir with a spoon and blend just until the liquid is absorbed – add a dash more buttermilk if the dough is too dry.
With floured hands, turn out the dough onto a lightly-floured surface and squash it down with a floured rolling pin. Don’t make it flat, just push it all down. Then, fold it over on itself a few times.
I use a drinking glass (flour the rim) placed down on the folded dough to cut out biscuits.
Put the biscuits on the baking sheet so that they just touch.
Bake: Bake for 15 minutes or until lightly golden brown on top. WATCH them.
Brown the sausages in a skillet and take them out. Stir in onions in the same pan and add a bit of water. Crumble the sausage as you put it back in the pan with the melting onions and let it brown for a minute or two, then turn down to a low heat.
Add flour and stir the whole thing around in the pan. Take out the sausage chunks, leaving the drippings in the pan. If there is not enough drippins’, then add some bacon grease or more lard or creamy butter. You need 4-5 cups of gravy.
Put the sausage back in, add the seasonings and cook the entire thing on very, very low.
Add the milk, and cook slowly until the gravy is thickened over low heat, stir it constantly. Don’t let it get to thick.
During all of this with the sausage and gravy, don’t burn your biscuits! Cut the biscuits open and butter them.
Then, put the two halves on a plate and pour the gravy over the top. Make sure there are sausage bits on everyone’s plate!
www.simplyrecipes.com/recipe for measurements and proportions only