June 5, 2012

It's what's for breakfast

Some time back I asked a coonass friend to get me some andouille for a get-together I was planning. Turned out he couldn’t get here for the boil but he was kind enough to ship the sausage to me in a Styrofoam cooler with dry ice.

There is nothing like the andouille you can get from the small meat markets in Louisiana. They’ve been doing it for so long and the competition between recipes is so fierce that they’ve honed this sausage-making thing to an artform.

Since I used all of what he sent a long time ago, I’ve been waiting for my buddy to get me some more, but he keeps forgetting. Thinking about it keeps me thinking of all the ways I like to use it. Andouille is very versatile sausage. One of my favorite recipes is chicken gumbo with andouille, but there are hundreds of other possibilities, both Cajun and not.

I figured I'd write a simple idea up to fill space here on the blog… sourdough biscuits with andouille sausage gravy. One of the hardiest, most filling, best tasting breakfasts you’ll ever experience.

The biscuits don’t have to be sourdough, but if you have a good start and know how to do it.. shoot the moon. Even those plain biscuits in a can will work if that’s all you have. I have sourdough and prefer it to the alternative. No use in me going on about how to make biscuits. Either you already know or you’ll use store-bought. Pillsbury has frozen biscuits now that aren’t bad either. Better than canned for certain. Nothing to it.

The gravy making is almost as simple, but I’ll tell you how I do it anyway.

When I say gravy I mean good, old-fashioned southern cream gravy. Some call it milk gravy and some just call it white but when a Southerner says gravy this is what he's talking about. Don’t matter what you call it... if you make it right and slather it over the top of a pile of biscuits there won’t nobody walk away hungry.

You’ll need a skillet and quart Mason jar with a good lid. The ingredients are simple… about three quarter pound of andouille, a medium 1015 or other sweet onion, about four tablespoons of bleached flour, three cups of fresh, cold milk, a little black pepper, salt and cayenne.

Mix your flour, milk and spices in the Mason jar and seal the lid on tightly. You’ll have to experiment with the spices to get the right balance. Remember that the sausage is a bit salty by itself so you want to be cautious about extra salt until you know for sure. You can always add more but it is damn hard to take it back out.

Start shaking the piss out of the jar. If milk comes out the lid you don’t have it screwed on tight enough. Get comfortable because you’re going to be shaking that jar for a while… right along with doing everything that follows. You may need three hands or a friend, but if you do a good job shaking you won’t have lumps in your gravy. Only savages would tolerate lumpy gravy.

Peel and chop the onion. You can use as little or as much of it as you like. Hear you skillet over a medium high burner, husk the casing off the sausage and break it up into the hot skillet. I like to use the edge of a spatula to break the sausage up into even smaller chunks, but don’t let it get to fine. It needs to be chunky. While the sausage is cooking toss in as much or as little of the onion as you like. Cook until the sausage is browned and the onions clear to browning. Don’t forget to keep shaking your jar while your doing all this.

Remove the mixture from the skillet but leave as much of the hot fat as you can. Let the mixture drain on paper towels.

Here you’re going to have to test your eyeball measuring ability. You want about four or five tablespoons of the hot drippings left in the pan. If there is too much it will separate from your gravy and look really funky on a plate. If there is too little your gravy won’t make.

Anyway, when you’re satisfied that you have just the right amount of fat, pour in your flour and milk mixture. It will immediately start boiling and you should just as immediately start stirring it briskly with a whisk, making sure to scrape the bottom constantly. If you get behind doing this your gravy is going to scorch. Not sure which is worse… lumps or scorched milk.

As it starts to thicken pay close attention. If it starts to get too thick add a little bit more milk. Careful not to overdo. You can add more if needed but you can’t take it out. If the consistency is too thin just keep it cooking until it thickens. Don’t add more flour unless you want lumps. When the gravy is just the way you like it, add the sausage mixture and cook a little bit more until everything is steaming hot.

Biscuits should be busted open and buttered before ladling on the gravy. The butter will flow out around the edges of the plate just waiting for you to daub a forkful of biscuit into it.

First time you try this you ought to be a mite conservative. Pretty easy to let your eyeballs overload you stomach with biscuits and andouille sausage gravy.

I’d make some for breakfast if I had any andouille.



Ambulance Driver said...

Let me get back from this upcoming trip, and I'll send you some.

Mule Breath said...

You just made my week :~)