Breakfast has always been my favorite meal of the day and breakfast for dinner has an extra special place in my heart. I love the sweet and the savory, the multiple beverages (mimosa!), breakfast is just plain fun. Bagels, waffles, granola, eggs, all of it. I don’t think there are any limitations on what can be breakfast. There are however a few breakfast foods I’ve been a little wary of. I’m dying to make homemade doughnuts, but am afraid to fry and for the longest time I got the chills whenever I thought of biscuits and gravy. The caloric laden, gristly sausage with bland, gloppy gravy over oily, soggy biscuits didn’t do anything for me. It wasn’t until, at the recommendation of the waitress at Skillet Diner in Seattle, that I gave biscuits and gravy a try. I figured if anyone could do it right, Skillet would be the place.
I have since woken up many a morning dreaming of biscuits and gravy, consider me a convert, all be it a picky one. Since I can’t make a weekly trip to Seattle for breakfast I decided to recreate the Skillet version.
I started with a good quality chicken sausage from Iserino’s which added nice flavor without being grease laden though I’ve also used locally raised and butchered pork breakfast sausage from Oakland Bay Farms. Then, I moved onto the holy trinity of cooking, a simple mirepoix (a finely chopped mix of carrots, celery, and onion), which places this gravy leagues ahead of its gloppy, tasteless cousins. Then all that is needed is a roux with milk (or broth if you want to keep it a little lighter).
In recent weeks I’ve realized that I love going out to breakfast, but I’m not in love with restaurant breakfast food. Perhaps I just need to get myself some lovely big white mugs for coffee, have the paper delivered, and settled down for a lazy homemade breakfast. Now if only I could figure out something to do with all the dishes…
Homemade Biscuits and Gravy
1 pound good quality breakfast sausage
1 reasonably sized carrot, finely diced
1 stalk of celery, finely diced
1/2 of a medium onion. finely diced
2 Tablespoons flour
1 1/2 cups milk (plus a little extra to thin it down if needed)
fresh chopped thyme or sage
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
salt and pepper to taste
4 – large biscuits
Brown the sausage in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once its brown, but not overcooked remove it from the pan and set aside. Reserve about 2 Tablespoons grease (or add 2 Tablespoons of butter if you are using chicken sausage) and the delicious browned sausage bits. Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the mirepoix, sauté until the carrots are tender and the onion is translucent.
Add the flour and stir to coat the vegetables, cook until it starts to turn slightly golden and has a nutty aroma. With the heat on low, slowly add the milk whisking continuously to evenly distribute the flour and get all the good bits scraped up. Allow to cook until just beginning to thicken. Return the sausage to the pan and add the thyme or sage and nutmeg. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. Serve over fresh, hot biscuits.