Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Vegetarian Biscuits & Gravy

This dish should not be confused with all of the healthy recipes I've been posting lately. There's a time and place for healthy food and a time and place for the stuff that makes life worth living. This was for a special occasion: Valentine's brunch. That said, it isn't so bad as this recipe uses veggie patties instead of sausage and I swapped out some white flour for wheat flour in the biscuits - although, I did add cheese. ;)

Biscuits & Veggie Gravy

Parmesan Biscuits (adapted from Alton Brown):
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup wheat flour
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 Tablespoons (28 grams) butter, cold
  • 2 Tablespoons (28 grams) vegetable shortening, cold
  • 1 cup buttermilk, cold
  • 1/3 cup shredded cheese (I used parmesan)
Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. Using cool fingertips or a pastry blender, blend butter and shortening into dry ingredients until mixture looks like crumbs. Make a well in the center and pour in buttermilk. Stir just until dough comes together - it will be sticky. Turn out onto floured surface, dust top with flour and fold dough over on itself 5 to 6 times. Press into a 1-inch thick round and cut out biscuits with a biscuit cutter or a glass. Reform scrap dough, working it as little as possible, and cut out the rest of the biscuits. You should have about 12 biscuits. You can lay them out on a baking sheet so that they just touch or you can space them out a little. I pressed my dough out a bit thinner and stacked 2 biscuits tall so that they would split easily. Bake at 450F/230C for 15-20 minutes.

Vegetarian Gravy:
  • 2 veggie burgers (or veggie sausage)
  • Olive oil, as needed
  • 1 Tablespoon (14 grams) butter
  • 1/4 cup (or 2 heaping soup spoons) flour
  • 2 cups buttermilk (or 2% milk will work) plus extra for thinning, at room temperature
  • Veggie powder, salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme, stripped
  • Handful of fresh parsley, chopped
Cook burgers in a drizzle of oil over medium heat, squishing and flattening them a bit until they start to break up and get crispy on the bottom. Flip them over and repeat - start breaking them down into crumbles. Once thoroughly cooked, remove the crumbles from the pan with a spatula - it's okay to leave some in the pan, and try to leave all of the oil. (Since I didn't use a non-stick pan, I went ahead and added enough water to cover the bottom of the pan, let it warm up and started scrapping out the bits that were stuck - you should probably do this with oil or butter but it seemed excessive.) Add butter and melt, swirling around the pan. Whisk in flour for about one minute. (Alternatively, you could whisk milk and flour together before adding it to the pan.) Add buttermilk, veggie powder, a pinch of salt, thyme, and crack in some pepper. Whisk constantly for a few minutes, making sure there are no lumps of flour. Stir in a handful of fresh parsley. Either let it simmer until it's at a thick enough consistency or whisk in more milk, depending on the consistency you'd like. Add more salt and pepper, if necessary (I think heaps of pepper are necessary). Stir the crumbles into the gravy. After I'd removed the crumbles, it took me about 10 minutes to make the gravy.

Parmesan Heart: 
Now, if it's Valentine's Day (or if you're just really nice) you could make a heart-shaped Parmesan crisp by using a Tablespoon of shredded cheese for each heart and shaping it on a non-stick baking sheet. Bake at about 350F/180C for 7-10 minutes, checking frequently. Then, you can just turn off the oven and let them set in there, getting all crispy for another 10 minutes while you're finishing the gravy. While they're still warm, but not gooey, carefully remove them from the pan.

Serve alone or with other brunch dishes, like scrambled eggs with basil. 

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