It is minus 1o F. in Chicago, I’m staying in. The only reason to go out is to walk the dogs and even they are walking a little faster to get back into the house. Minus 10 is the perfect time to bake a few biscuits and cook a comforting sausage gravy, all food that speaks Southern comfort.
A biscuit is a traditional Southern bread, usually made with rendered lard; a time-honored recipe going back many years. This is a very easy and traditional recipe made with self rising flour, milk, distilled white vinegar and rendered lard. There is lot of advise out there about baking biscuits, the most important thing whatever you do, don’t over work the dough. The rest is simple and is all about good execution.
Finding rendered lard (that is lard that has not been hydrogenated) can be difficult to find sometimes. So I cook my own rendered lard using Kidney fat from Mint Greek Farm . As a matter of fact, you will always find a jar or two of rendered lard in my refrigerator. There is and always will be the great fat debate: rendered lard, butter or shortening? I think I will stick with tradition and bake with lard. There is a reason that so many cooks believe baking with lard gives you the flakiest biscuit or pie crust out there.
Biscuits are a staple in the South, for breakfast, lunch or dinner and make a Southern meal complete. Southerners like to use self rising flour in their fried chicken breading, cornbread biscuits and in their cakes, pancakes and cobblers.
Self-rising flour is basically what it sounds like. It is an all-pourpose flour to which baking powder and salt have been added. The first time I heard of biscuits and gravy was in Kansas City and I thought of biscuits and gravy as the original frontier food that conquered the wild west.
I love to eat a biscuit fresh out of the oven, still warm with a little butter and jam along with a freshly brewed cup of coffee. Or serve with a side of sausage gravy for a satisfying traditional Sunday morning Southern breakfast.