You all know my affinity for buttermilk biscuits. Normally they are phenomenal on their own with a little butter and honey or maybe a sausage patty or some jelly. Whatever. You can’t go wrong with fresh, hot biscuits. But sometimes, you just want a little something more. I actually did not grow up eating biscuits with cream gravy. Odd, considering it’s such a southern staple. I’m not sure why our family didn’t make them that often. But I’ve definitely come to love them as an adult.
A few years ago, I came across a photo in Garden & Gun magazine that made my mouth water. The article about Cathead Biscuits and Sausage Gravy featured a photo of two GIANT biscuits with a healthy smothering of cream gravy and some crispy sage leaves. I read through the article and knew I had to have it. It was just different enough (blended gravy? lemon juice?) that I was very, very intrigued. The original recipe called for equal parts heavy cream and half and half. I actually use half and half and whole milk in mine. Nothing wrong with some cream but I just prefer something a little less heavy. And don’t worry about the lemon juice. This isn’t a lemony gravy (ew!) but it’s just enough to brighten up the flavors. I tried making the pretty fried sage for the garnish, but a girl’s gotta know her limits. I sucked at it. Once, I ended up with greasy limp leaves and another time with burnt sage (OMG, that SMELL!). So I garnish mine with a few little baby leaves from the sage plant just outside the back door and it looks just as pretty. Or you can just garnish it with more gravy. That’d be good too.
You can obviously make fresh biscuits for this or you can use frozen. When I made these recently, we were at a vacation rental house in the mountains. I didn’t feel like taking the time on vacation to make scratch biscuits so I bought a big bag of frozen ones at the supermarket and then went to town with the gravy. I had a very happy couple of boys (big and small) in the house that day.
Once you learn to make homemade gravy, you may never order biscuits and gravy in a restaurant again.
- 1/2 lb bulk sausage (I like sage)
- 1/2 C chopped onion
- 3 T butter, divided
- 2 T all purpose flour
- 1 T chopped fresh sage (you can use dry, but use less and know it will taste a little different)
- 1/2 C half & half
- 1 1/2 C whole milk (plus, possibly a little extra)
- 1/4 t cayenne pepper
- Hot sauce, to taste
- Worchestershire sauce, to taste
- Lemon juice, to taste (I use about a tablespoon in mine just to brighten up the flavors)
- salt and pepper to taste
- Fresh sage leaves for garnish, optional
- 6 – 8 hot fresh biscuits
Melt 2 T butter in a deep skillet or sauce pan over medium heat. Add sausage and break up. I use a potato masher to break it into small bits initially. As it begins to brown, add chopped onions. Saute and continue to break up sausage about 5 minutes or until onions are translucent and sausage is browned. Melt in remaining butter and sprinkle sausage mixture with flour, sage, and cayenne and cook for about 2 minutes to cook off the raw flavor of the flour.
Gradually stir half and half into sausage mixture, scraping bottom of pan after each addition. It will get VERY thick and pasty.
Gradually add milk to mixture and bring to a bubble. Add hot sauce, Worchestershire, salt, pepper and lemon juice to taste (I like mine very peppery). Use an immersion blender to blend gravy until it’s blended to your desired chunkiness – I still like a few big chunks of sausage. If it’s getting too thick, add more milk, a little at a time, until desired consitency. If you don’t have an immersion blender, you can blend it in batches in a regular blender or food processor. Be careful if you do this! Blending hot things in a blender can be dangerous!
Serve over hot split biscuits and garnish with sage leaves if desired.
Makes enough for about 6 – 8 biscuits.
By the way, apologies for the photos. You can’t make this look pretty, y’all. But, oh my lord, does it taste good. Totally worth it!
Now, one thing I like about this gravy is that everything is blended together. I know it sounds weird but it really does help all the flavors to blend and I promise the texture isn’t gross. If you don’t have an immersion blender, you can obviously skip this step but I use my immersion blender at LEAST once a week (gravies, sauces, smoothies, soups, etc.) and it’s one of my favorite kitchen tools. You should think about getting one at some point. If you opt not to blend here, just make sure your sausage is really broken up and the onion is chopped really small.