Saturday, November 10, 2007

Mark's Dutch Oven Biscuits and Gravy

The first time I ever had biscuits and gravy was at a scout camp. Our patrol piled into the mess hall alongside everyone else’s patrols one morning, and we were served big bowls full of biscuits. That was cool enough. After the generic non-denominational “grace” was said, everyone but me started grabbing biscuits, tearing them open and laying them out on their plates. I had some biscuits, but I was wondering where the butter and jam was.

Then they started pouring this white gravy all over them. I’d never heard of this before! But it looked really good. So, I joined in, and it was amazing. The best breakfast food I’d ever had.

So, for some reason, I remembered that this week, and wanted to recapture that. I decided that this weekend, I would cook a Saturday morning breakfast (Sunday morning is too hectic).

It was a little tricky working on both dishes and timing them out to be done at about the same time. I also had a little trouble with the biscuits. I need to do more of those, to get some good practice.

Mark’s Dutch Oven Biscuits and Gravy

10” Dutch Oven
15-18 coals below

12” Dutch Oven
12 coals below, 24 coals above (for 500 deg. F)

The Gravy

  1. ½ lb -1 lb ground breakfast sausage
  2. 1 medium chopped onion
  3. 2 ½ Tbsp flour
  4. ½ Cup Buttermilk
  5. 1 ½ Cups Milk
  6. A shake or two of:
    1. Salt
    2. Black pepper
    3. Celery salt
    4. Parsley
    5. Cinnamon
    6. Worcestershire sauce

The Biscuits

  1. 2 Cup + flour
  2. ½ tsp baking soda
  3. 2 tsp baking powder
  4. 2 Tbsp Shortening
  5. 1 Cup Buttermilk

I started out cooking the sausage in the 10” dutch oven. I also chopped up the onion and added that. While that was working, I started on the biscuits.

I mixed the dry ingredients, then added the shortening, cutting it all together with a pastry knife. Then I mixed in the Buttermilk, and continued cutting with the pastry knife. After it was well mixed, I kneaded it a bit, and then rolled it out on the floured countertop. I suspect that I worked it too much, because they didn’t “poof” up much in the oven. They tasted great, but they were more thin, and not as fluffy. I might have also rolled them too thin. The recipe said a half inch. I might have rolled it out too flat. Brendon was helping me with all this, too, which was fun.

The recipe also called for the dutch oven to be pre-heated to 500. I did light up enough coals, but I didn’t preheat the oven. I wonder if that also effected the fluffiness.

So, once the biscuits were in the oven and waiting to go on the coals, I mixed the flour into the now-browned sausage and onions in the 10” dutch oven, and then added the milk and spices. I left that on to heat up and thicken.

I put the biscuits on and under the coals, and that was, frankly, a lot of heat. I don’t think I’ve ever cooked anything at 500 before. I turned the biscuits several times, and I think I cooked them a total of about 25-30 minutes. The recipe called for 10-12 minutes, but then, I didn’t preheat the oven either.

The biscuits baked, the gravy thickened, and finally it was time to bring it all in and try it. It was delicious. I knew as I smelled all those spices in the gravy that it was going to be heavenly. I wasn’t disappointed.

The biscuits, like I said, tasted great, but were thin, and not so light. I really need to practice that.

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