The Food and Wine Hedonist

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Celebrating Fat with Biscuits and Gravy

For decades, we’ve been taught to believe that saturated fats in food are bad.   Wait, “taught” is a mild understatement.  The point has been hammered into our heads that a diet with a lot of fat in it leads to obesity and heart attacks.  Not wanting to lose out on a money-making opportunity, the food industry jumped all over it.  First, we started to see margarine being touted as being healthier than butter. Then, we started seeing the words “low fat” appearing on all kinds of food labels and in restaurants everywhere.

The problem is – it may not have been true.

There’s a fairly entertaining documentary available on Netflix called Fat Head.  The movie set out to refute the movie “Supersize Me,” which chronicled the  detrimental effects on Morgan Spurlock’s body after his eating nothing but McDonalds for a month.  But he didn’t actually do it.  Or at least there was no proof of his diet and no evidence that what he ate was responsible for his the health problems.  In “Fat Head,” Tom Naughton ate what Spurlock supposedly did and documented it his meals in great detail.  Instead of ballooning up and developing various medical conditions, he actually loses weight and his cholesterol level drops.

The movie goes on to refute the whole “fat is evil” line of thought, something that’s been verified by some new studies.  The original studies that started the trend only found a correlation between fat and heart disease, not necessarily causation.  The new studies are saying that it’s not fat and cholesterol that are the culprits for bad health.  The bigger factor is diabetes or pre-diabetes – basically that it’s excess sugars and refined carbs that are the bigger concern.  One telling point is that, of the patients who go to emergency rooms with heart attacks, 75% of them have normal cholesterol levels.

I’m sure all kinds of people are going to refute the latest fat studies, as that’s what people do.  Plus there are a lot of companies like Healthy Choice and Subway that use “low fat” as a key selling point.  What isn’t up for debate is that hand-made food using natural ingredients – often with a lot of fat – tastes better.  Tofu is not steak.  Heck, it’s not even turkey.  And you simply can’t cook with margarine like you can with butter.  Margarine is a mixture of oil and water, so when it melts you’re introducing unwanted water and your food doesn’t brown.  Let’s not forget that margarine tastes like shiznit.

So in celebration of fat’s – at least temporary – redemption, I made what many have called “heart attack on a plate.”  Biscuits & Gravy, that staple of southern breakfasts, is filled with butter, pork, grease, and milk.  It has all kinds of things you’re supposed to avoid.  And it’s delicious.  What I also found was that it was so filling and satisfying that I ended up eating less for lunch.

Just in case, it’s probably wise not to eat this every day.  And keep exercising!

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biscuits gravy

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Biscuits and Gravy

I got this recipe from Chow.com.  It’s seemed straightforward and the biscuits were absolutely PERFECT.

For the biscuits

– 2 cups flour, plus more for dusting

– 2 teaspoons baking powder

– 1 teaspoon salt

– ½ teaspoon baking soda

– 8 Tablespoons cold butter (1 stick) cut into ½ inch pieces.

– 1 cup cold buttermilk

1 – Heat the oven to 425°F and arrange a rack in the middle. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.

2 – Whisk together the measured flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda in a large bowl to aerate and combine. Add the butter pieces and toss to just coat them in the flour mixture. Place the bowl in the freezer for 10 minutes.

3 – Using a pastry blender or 2 knives, and working quickly so as not to soften the butter, cut the butter into the dry ingredients until it’s in pea-size pieces. Drizzle in the buttermilk and stir just until a moist, shaggy dough comes together.

biscuits gravy dough

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4 – Generously dust a work surface with flour. Scrape the dough out onto the surface and dust the top with more flour. Using floured hands, gently pat the dough into a 1-inch-thick circle.

5 – Using a 2-1/2-inch round cutter dipped in flour, cut out as many biscuits as possible (press straight down through the dough—do not twist the cutter, or the biscuits will not rise properly). Transfer the biscuits to the prepared baking sheet, spacing them at least 1 inch apart. Gather the scraps into a ball, pat it into a 1-inch-thick circle, and cut out more biscuits. Repeat as needed until you have 8 total. Discard any remaining dough.

biscuits gravy cut

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6 – Bake until the biscuits have risen and are golden brown on top, about 15 to 16 minutes. Transfer them to a wire rack. Meanwhile, make the gravy.

biscuits done

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For the gravy

– 3 Tablespoons butter

– 12 ounces uncooked breakfast sausage, casings removed.  I get mine from my favorite sausage shop – Biercamp.

– 1/3 cup flour

– ½ tsp salt

– ½ tsp black pepper

– 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper

– 3 ½  cups milk.  NOTE – I only ended up using 2 cups, but I like it thicker.  No idea why.  So add the milk gradually and stop when you get the consistency you want.

1 – Heat the butter in a large frying pan over medium-high heat until foaming. Add the sausage and cook, breaking it up into smaller pieces with a wooden spoon, until the meat’s no longer pink and is starting to brown, about 5 minutes.

2 – Reduce the heat to medium. Sprinkle the sausage with the flour, measured salt, measured pepper, and cayenne. Cook, stirring frequently, until the raw taste of the flour has cooked off, about 1 minute.

biscuits gravy flour

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3 – Gradually stir in the milk, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally. Continue simmering, stirring often, until the mixture has thickened slightly, about 1 minute more (the gravy will continue to thicken as it sits). Taste and season with additional salt and pepper as needed. Keep warm.

biscuits gravy cooked

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4 – To serve, split the biscuits in half horizontally and top with the sausage gravy.

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So what do you think?  Has fat gotten a bad rap or should we continue with the low-fat diets?  Can we at least agree I’m getting better with a camera?

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About thefoodandwinehedonist

I don't know everything about the world of food and wine, but I'm not going to let a small detail like that stop me from blogging about it.

21 comments on “Celebrating Fat with Biscuits and Gravy

  1. Yinzerella
    December 18, 2013

    Holy F@*K does that look good. I have been looking for a good biscuit recipe and gosh darnnit this might be it. Well played!

  2. talkavino
    December 18, 2013

    I’m completely with you! I;m trying to avoid processed food as much as possible, and “low fat” in a lot of cases simply means that there will be lots of other ingredients there to compensate for the lack of thereof, so “low fat” = “to avoid” in my book. By the way, margarine is prohibited in our house – butter is the way to go.
    I’m a sucker for biscuits and gravy! Will be trying your recipe soon!

  3. ksbeth
    December 18, 2013

    biscuits ‘n gravy is one of my fav guilty pleasure foods. now i feel better already )

  4. dwdirwin
    December 18, 2013

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again- butter makes everything better!

  5. PinotNinja
    December 18, 2013

    I ate biscuits and gravy for the first time ever this summer and all I can say is WOW. It was shockingly delicious, but it also wiped me out for the entire day. I literally couldn’t move because it sent my body, which generally runs on kale and red wine, into total shock. As in a “what is this, it is so delicious that I can’t function because this is so good and why have i never had this before” kind of shock.

    The key to health is to eat real food in real portions. Totally easy and simple, yet we manage to muck it up all the time.

    • thefoodandwinehedonist
      December 19, 2013

      Absolutely right. I’d also throw in exercise too. Not much – just a few hours a week. Unless you are like me and ignore the portion part. Then u exercise like a fiend.

  6. Megan @ MegGoesNomNom
    December 19, 2013

    This. Yes.

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  8. emilyzaikis
    December 19, 2013

    Gotta love butter. Funny you post this. I recently posted a recipe for schnitzel and spaetzle in honor of finding out I have bad cholesterol levels, or the butters, as I like to call them. And now I want to make sausage and gravy with biscuits this weekend. haha

    • thefoodandwinehedonist
      December 19, 2013

      Well one more buttery meal won’t hurt. I guess this is where I have the disclaimer that you shouldn’t take medical advice from a food and booze blogger. 😉

      • emilyzaikis
        December 19, 2013

        Touché. I’m still going to eat butter. Maybe just drink more booze to wash it down. 🙂

  9. Gede Prama
    December 21, 2013

    visit, read the article and thanks for posting your article is quite good and we hope that all our friends all success and thank you all, greetings. (This is a good thing) 🙂

  10. melaniewagnerwine
    January 3, 2014

    These look amazing! My great grandmother ate home made biscuits, dredged in bacon fat, every day of her life. She lived to be 105! Ha.

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This entry was posted on December 18, 2013 by in Cooking and tagged , , , , , , , .
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