These are a great breakfast, or dinner! I had some leftover buttermilk from a recipe, and what better way to use it than in biscuits. My dad has a thing for biscuits and has been through several recipes searching for just the right one from his childhood. He's settled on an imitation of KFC's biscuits from one of those secret restaurant recipes books. It involves club soda though, and I don't ever have that on hand, and think it's pointless to buy it for half a cup, or whatever amount the recipe needs. Whenever I want the best version of a recipe I always first look for the Alton Brown version. Since he's a food science geek as well as a chef I know he's done all the needed research to find the most appropriate method and ingredients to yield the best result. These biscuits are no exception.
Southern Biscuits and Sawmill Gravy
2 cups flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons shortening
1 cup buttermilk, chilled
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Using your fingertips, rub butter and shortening into dry ingredients until mixture looks like crumbs. (The faster the better, you don't want the fats to melt.) Make a well in the center and pour in the chilled buttermilk. Stir just until the dough comes together. The dough will be very sticky.
Turn dough onto floured surface, dust top with flour and gently fold dough over on itself 5 or 6 times. Press into a 1-inch thick round. Cut out biscuits with a 2-inch cutter, being sure to push straight down through the dough. Place biscuits on baking sheet so that they just touch. Reform scrap dough, working it as little as possible and continue cutting. (Biscuits from the second pass will not be quite as light as those from the first, but hey, that's life.)
Bake until biscuits are tall and light gold on top, 15 to 20 minutes.
1 pound bulk breakfast sausage
1/4 cup flour
2 cups milk
Salt and pepper
Cook sausage in a cast iron skillet. When done, remove sausage from pan and pour off all but 2 tablespoons of fat. Whisk flour into the fat and cook over low heat for 5 minutes. Remove pan from heat and whisk in milk a little at a time. Return to medium-high heat and stir occasionally while the gravy comes to a simmer and thickens. (Be sure to scrape up any brown bits that might be stuck to the bottom of the pan, that's where the flavor is.) Check seasoning, add crumbled sausage and serve over toast or biscuits.