A Crowd-Pleasing, Chef-Pampering Breakfast
By Anita McVey, Picnic Life Foodie
Shortcut Biscuits & Gravy can be made a night ahead and quickly prepared in the morning. The savory dish is the perfect breakfast option over the holidays.
Some mornings beg for a hearty, warm breakfast like biscuits and gravy. A lazy Saturday morning, a day that will be spent working on outdoor projects or feeding overnight guests before their departure are a few perfect examples.
Often though, the time commitment associated with making biscuits and gravy from scratch is intimidating. Plus, waking up extra early to make such a complex meal might just be the final straw! Opting for an egg casserole that can be assembled the night before and baked in the morning is frequently a solution in my household.
If eggs and French toast can be made a day in advance, why can’t biscuits and gravy?
Well, of course, it can and is easy to do without sacrificing taste or quality. The gravy can even be made two days in advance! Convenience and comfort: two ingredients everyone enjoys.
There are a few key ingredients for delicious sausage gravy. The first one is sage, the herb commonly found in pork sausage. This recipe uses ground pork instead of sausage so including a good amount of sage is essential. Crushed red pepper is the second necessary ingredient. One-half teaspoon is just enough to provide a small kick of heat. For a spicier version, increase the measure to 1 teaspoon.
The third key ingredient is nutmeg. Many people associate nutmeg with baked sweets, but it is an amazing addition to savory white sauces. Just as the crushed red pepper adds a subtle heat, the nutmeg adds an undertone of warmth.
The biscuits in this recipe are a welcome shortcut. Two ingredients and less than 30 minutes of effort are all it takes to have the fresh, hot and delicious foundation for scrumptious gravy!
When serving a hearty breakfast, consider serving lighter side dishes for balance. It may seem unusual, but a green salad (pictured with shaved Brussels sprouts) or fresh fruit will beautifully complement the casserole.
Shortcut Biscuits & Gravy
- 1 pound ground pork
- 3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
- 3/4 teaspoon pepper, divided
- 5 tablespoons butter (see instructions)
- 1/2 cup diced onion
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 1 teaspoon ground sage
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/4 cup (heaping) all-purpose flour
- 3 cups milk
- 1/2 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
- 1 1/2 cups self-rising flour
- 1 1/4 cups plain Greek yogurt
- Coarse ground salt and pepper
- Chopped green onions
- Shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
Heat a large skillet or Dutch oven over medium-low heat for 2-3 minutes. Add ground pork (pork should sizzle when added to the pan), 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Cook pork, stirring occasionally, until crumbled and no longer pink. Remove pork from skillet and drain, reserving drippings.
Measure the drippings and return to the pan. Add enough butter to pan to the drippings in the pan total 5 tablespoons of fat. Sauté onions in drippings and butter over medium-low heat until tender (3-4 minutes). Stir in remaining salt, pepper, crushed red pepper, sage and nutmeg and continue to sauté 2 minutes.
Sprinkle flour over onion mixture and whisk together. Cook until bubbly and slightly browned (2-3 minutes). Whisk in milk, a cup at a time, allowing gravy to thicken after each addition.
Continue to heat, whisking constantly, until thickened. Remove from heat. Taste the gravy and add additional salt or pepper as desired. Stir in sausage and shredded cheese. Serve immediately over biscuits or cool gravy completely and refrigerate overnight for serving the next day. Reheat sausage gravy over low heat. Add a quarter cup of milk for a thinner consistency, if desired.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Combine self-rising flour and Greek yogurt in a large bowl. Gently stir (hands work great) until fully incorporated. Divide dough into 12 equal portions. Gently roll each between palms, place on a parchment-lined cookie sheet, press down lightly and brush tops with a little milk (this helps the biscuits to rise). Sprinkle each with coarse-ground salt and pepper.
Bake for 10-14 minutes until golden brown.
Serve gravy over biscuits and top with additional shredded cheese and chopped green onions.
NOTE: Not all ground pork is the same. Various brands, stores, and butchers have different versions. The cuts that are used to make it, and therefore, the leanness, will vary. After browning 1 pound of ground pork, up to 3 tablespoons of drippings may be available. The leanest versions may not produce any drippings at all.