I have to preface this by saying that I did not grow up in a biscuit family. I grew up in a cornbread family. My knowledge of true biscuits came later on about the time I attended college in rural Virginia. There I encountered this tasty dish maybe for the first time on a consistent basis. And the gravy that went over them was part and parcel of what I remember from local diners in Harrisonburg. This recipe is based on one that was taught me by Phil, who managed the local Howard Johnson's next to campus. Who would have thought that an aging chain restaurant would hold such culinary secrets. I've tweeked it over the years but this stuff is no joke. So delicious and decadent.
Phil's Mustard Chive and Cheese Biscuits:
These are a combination of cream and buttermilk with cheese biscuits and come out so well. Phil used common Swiss Cheese and parmesan but Gruyere or Cheddar make excellent sustitutions. The mustard powder is a nod to a savory biscuit and flavors it so well.
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. dry mustard powder
4 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
4 oz. very cold butter, cubed
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup buttermilk
6 oz of shredded Swiss cheese
3 oz of grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons melted butter
Preheat the oven to 375°F.
Whisk all dry ingredients together in a large mixing bowl.
Cut in butter until mixture resembles crumbs.
Add heavy cream and buttermilk and mix together until dough comes together
Turn the dough out onto a well-floured surface and knead a few times
Pat out dough into a rectangle on a floured board
Sprinkle 1/4 of cheese over one-half of the rectangle, fold over on itself
Roll out slightly with rolling pin
repeat layering and folding four more times.
Roll to 1 1/2-inch thickness and cut into about 2 1/2-inch squares ( love square biscuits)
Transfer to parchment-lined baking sheet placing them together on sheet which will help them rise
Brush the tops with the melted butter and sprinkle with flaky sea salt
Bake until golden on the middle rack, 14-16 minutes, turning once. Yields 12.
Sausage and Thyme, Cream and Sherry Gravy:
The secret to amazingly different cream gravy is actually two fold. One is the spice thyme and the other is Sherry. Actually in two incarnations.
2 pounds really high quality ground pork sausage.
1 1/2 cups flower
3/4 stick butter
5 cups whole milk
11/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 tablespoon franks hot sauce
3 teaspoons black pepper
1/2 cup sherry cooking wine ( yes cooking wine )
1 tablespoons sherry vinegar
1 teaspoons dried thyme
2 teaspoons fresh thyme chopped
2 tablespoons fresh chives finely chopped
Salt to taste
In a large heavy bottomed pot break up sausage and cook till done
drain half of the rendered fat.
Add butter till melted then add flour and stir till cooked and the raw flavor is gone ( about 3 mins)
Add spices and cook for another 2 mins
Slowly add the milk and stir constantly using a whisk
Add the sherry cooking wine and cook for about 10 mins till the gravy is thick and has set up. If too thick add more milk.
Season to taste it will take some salt make sure it's not under seasoned
Just before serving stir in the vinegar
Serve over biscuits and top with chives