I’m not much of a southern lady. In fact, I will proudly claim otherwise. I will turn down hot, humid weather for cold rainy days, and I could even do without a large number of casseroles and coconut cakes in my life. But, there is one southern delicacy which I will always adore and devour at every chance I get.
Biscuits and gravy. Gosh, I can’t even look at you. That buttery, fluffy buttermilk biscuit covered in a rich, creamy gravy, fragrant from a liberal dose of freshly cracked black pepper. It’s just too much for my butter-lovin heart to handle.
To be perfectly candid, I had never made biscuits and gravy until several weeks ago. Sadly, it is not something that normally makes its way into my weekly diet. That is changing, starting now.
When I began to think about recipes that would be included in my 1st Meal series, I knew that Biscuits and Gravy would have to make the list. After all, it is one of my favorite breakfasts! So, I set out to make my own version of this southern classic, I knew that I could not simply make biscuits and gravy. I had to put a little of my unneeded, but obligatory sparkly food blog magic on it. Sparkly foodie magic came in the form of sharp cheddar cheese and crispy, salty pancetta. I will always, always, always add cheese and fat whenever and wherever I can.
Biscuits and gravy are simple. Biscuits are made with a bit of stirring, crumbling, and cutting, and a super simple gravy comes together in minutes as the biscuits bake.
There is something therapeutic about making biscuits when the air is still crisp and the fog is wafting off the dew-kissed grass. It's all essential to the regardfully and gingerly constructed First Meal.
There is something so comforting about an airy biscuit covered in a rich, peppery cream sauce, which is what this “gravy” really is.
These biscuits are layered with a profuse amount of sharp, white cheddar and are sprinkled with a generous dose of sea salt and fresh black pepper.
Your pepper grinder is working hard for this meal.
Pour yourself a glass of orange juice, hand-squeezed if you're fancy, turn on your favorite playlist, and maybe light a candle too while you enjoy these morning moments.
White Cheddar Biscuits with Black Pepper Pancetta Gravy
serves 6 / biscuit recipe adapted from Baking At Home
for the white cheddar biscuits
- 3 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 tablespoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon fine salt
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, cut into cubes
- 2/3 cup buttermilk
- 1/2 cup whole milk, plus extra for brushing
- 1 1/2 cups grated sharp white cheddar cheese
- course salt and freshly ground pepper, optional
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
In a large bowl sift to combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.
Use the tips of your fingers to work the butter into the flour mixture, until in pea-sized pieces. Stir in white cheddar. Add milk and buttermilk and use a spatula or wooden spoon to blend, being careful not to overwork the dough.
Turn the dough out unto a floured surface and roll to 1-inch in thickness. Use the bottom of a glass or a biscuit cutter to cut into 3-inch rounds.
Place biscuits on a baking sheet lined with parchment. Space about 1 1/2 inches apart. Brush the top of each biscuit with milk and sprinkle with course salt and freshly ground pepper.
Bake for 12-15 minutes, until golden, and then allow to cool slightly while you prepare the gravy.
for the gravy
- 2 ounces pancetta, diced
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 1/4 cups whole milk
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
In a medium frying pan cook pancetta over medium heat until crisp. Remove the pancetta from the pan, leaving the grease, and reserve for later use.
Add butter and flour to the pan and whisk to form a paste. Cook for 1-2 minutes, until the mixture is bubbling - do not brown.
Stir in whole milk, salt, and pepper. Cook for 3-4 minutes, until thickened and then return the cooked pancetta to the pan.
Slice each biscuit in half and cover with gravy. Serve immediately, enjoy leisurely!