It’s Saturday morning, and I have been up before the dawn. Sipping a pipping hot cup of freshly pressed Spiced Orange Coffee, I’m chatting with Kiddo while searching through my collection of breakfast recipes. This is no ordinary Saturday – it’s playoff time in the world of football. No – I am NOT a fan of football. I am not a fan of any sport, since I don’t understand the need to compete and the purpose of “winning”. That lack of understanding isn’t limited to sports – I don’t understand the point of any competition unless the end results are that it brings out our best efforts, and that everyone wins. I guess what I don’t understand is the need to “beat” others. I compete all the time – with myself. This is especially true in the kitchen – always striving to create something better, to be more creative in general. This morning I am looking for a breakfast meal that can be built around Bratwurst Sausage Patties. Like I said, it’s playoff season and the Green Bay Packers are set to take the field this evening in a do or die push toward the Super Bowl. Hubby believes in the power of Bratwurst – the official food of his beloved Packers.
Earlier in the week, we stopped at a Grocery Outlet Store on our way home from work for a gallon of milk. Shopping at a Grocery Outlet Store is always fun. You never know what you might find on the shelves, refrigerated sections or among the frozen foods. The inventory changes constantly. Basics such as milk, breads and eggs can always be had. Everything else depends upon availability. Their shelves are stocked with surplus items or rejects. (French Fries for example are not long slices of potatoes but rather the stuff left at the bottom of the bags). Some of the canned goods are labeled in foreign languages, and only the pictures on the cans reveal what might be lurking inside. Even name-brand items aren’t necessarily what you might find in other stores. I could be wrong, but it seems some of what is sold are mistakes that can be bought and thereby sold cheaply. Soups taste saltier. Once we bought boxed Macaroni and Cheese. Inside were elbow macaroni but no packets of cheese. Hey, what do you want for fifty cents a box? It’s always an adventure.
In the frozen food section I found Johnsonville Bratwurst Griller – the “plain” ones – just the Bratwurst Patties. I’ve been able to find the Grillers elsewhere – with cheddar cheese. Hubby is not a cheese eater, so we’ve passed on the “flavored” Grillers. The plain ones aren’t very popular, and I suspect that is why they have ended up at the Outlet Store. Perfect for me. Instead of serving breakfast sausage or bacon on such an important playoff day, I decided to go with the Bratwurst Patties. Bratwurst has a distinct flavor. I needed to build my breakfast around that unique taste. Bratwurst and pancakes or waffles or French Toast simply wasn’t happening – the flavors would not blend well – not when you poured on the syrup. Biscuits – now that’s something you could serve along-side the Bratwurst patties.
I read through my collection of from-scratch biscuit recipes, deciding to combine the basic ingredients of one recipe (with just a little fine-tuning) with the cutting technique of another. One of the steps in making biscuits that I have always found to be a pain is cutting the butter into the dry ingredients until the butter is tiny bits about the size of peas. One of my recipes, centuries old Southern recipe has only been changed once – using frozen butter that is grated with a cheese grater. Hey, I’m all in favor of trying a new method. We stock up on butter whenever it’s a good deal, and keep it in the freezer. There are several pounds of butter in the freezer as we speak. Together, we’ll see what the end results produce. Shall we do a little baking?
Note: While I still had to cut the butter into the flour mixture, it cut the time way down to use frozen grated butter. Less cutting, less handling.
Farmhouse Buttermilk Biscuits
2 ½ cups of all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
3 tablespoon sugar
1 Pinch of Salt*
1 ½ sticks of butter, frozen
3/4 cup cold buttermilk **
Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. Place cheese grater into the freezer to get good and cold. This will help keep the butter cold.
Sift the dry ingredients together into a bowl. Set aside.
Working with 1/2 a stick of frozen butter at a time, grate using a cheese grater into small curls of butter. (Leave remaining butter in freezer until ready to grate). Add the butter to the flour mixture. Quickly cut cold butter into flour mixture using a wire pastry cutter or two knives. Continue to rapidly work in the butter until it is about the size of peas.
Add the buttermilk. Using a fork, stir buttermilk into flour mixture until all the dry ingredients are moistened. Do not overwork or the resulting biscuits will be tough.
Gather the dough together into a ball and working on a lightly floured surface, pat out into a disk that is about 1 inch thick. (It’s okay if the top cracks a little or if the biscuits are a little lumpy. These are home-baked Farmhouse Biscuits – minor imperfections are part of their charm). With a 2-inch cutter, cut dough into 10 biscuits. You should be able to get about 6 biscuits with first disk, reform and get a few more. Reform dough no more than twice after first cut to avoid over-handling.
Place about an inch apart on a stone baking pan that has been lightly brushed with olive oil. Bake biscuits on the center rack of the oven for about 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.
Serve warm with more butter and your favorite jams or honey.
* Once upon a time I use to wonder what is a pinch? Is my pinch like your pinch? Then I came across the best addition to my measuring spoon collection – eliminating the pinches and dabs and smidgens – yeah, it has a spoon for that. Truth is, most of the time I don’t use them, I just like the idea of these tiny measuring spoons. Too cute to resist.
** To use regular milk in place of buttermilk, add 1 teaspoon of white vinegar to the 3/4 cup of whole milk. Let sit for a few minutes, then chill well before using.