The Paleo Table: Biscuits & Gravy
Last week on the 6 DIY food projects to try in 2011 post, Troglodyte in Training said, “And here I was all excited over mastering sausage-bacon gravy using coconut milk with powdered arrowroot for consistency.” Well, my little Troglodyte, you now get your wish!
Gluten-free biscuits & gravy
Biscuits and gravy were definitely on the menu when I was growing up. They aren’t a favorite food that I dearly miss now that I’ve gone Paleo (can we have a moment of silence for pizza, please?) but every now and then they were a nice treat. And when I saw Trog’s comment, I felt up to the challenge. I mean he did most of the hard work for me, suggesting coconut milk and arrowroot. The rest was super easy.
So if you’re one of those people who gets his panties in a wad over the fact that cavemen totally wouldn’t have been making biscuits and gravy, might I remind you of a quote from Andrew Badenoch, “Paleo is a logical framework applied to modern humans, not a historical reenactment.” That there quote applies to this here recipe. All the ingredients are technically Paleo, but I’d use this more as a treat for those lazy Sunday mornings every now and then when you want to hang out in the kitchen and make some true comfort food. It’s also perfect to try out on those Paleo-reluctant family members. The taste and texture overall is pretty darn close to the real thing. If I may say so, the gravy is spot-on. The biscuits are never going to be as light and fluffy as gluten-bombs made with cake flour and shortening, but they are good. They remind me of the whole wheat biscuits I used to make back in my weight watchers days: a little dense, but still biscuity enough to be called biscuits.
Some recipe notes
I added in sage and fennel to make the gravy even more sausage-y and mask the taste of the coconut milk. It worked. You could use any type of country style sausage here (that means sausage not in a casing). I used pork, but turkey sausage would work fine, and spicy sausage would be even better. The cayenne gives it a little kick, but leave it out if you must. Not familiar with arrowroot powder? Well here you go:
Arrowroot powder comes from the rhizome of the West Indian arrowroot plant, and is a thickener similar to cornstarch. Besides trying to avoid the evilness that is corn, I prefer it to cornstarch for a couple of reasons: It has a more neutral flavor than cornstarch, it works well at a low temperature and tolerates acidic ingredients for a longer cooking time, it gives dessert sauces and fillings a really pretty sheen, and unlike cornstarch, you can freeze things made with arrowroot without them turning into a blobby, gummy mess. Don’t use arrowroot powder with dairy, though, it turns things into a disgusting slimy mixture. Not cute.
Paleo Sausage Gravy
16 oz. country style pork sausage
2 tbsp arrowroot powder
1 can coconut milk (shake it up before you open it)
1/4 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp dried, rubbed sage
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp salt
- Heat up a skillet over medium-high heat and brown the sausage. Break up the sausage into fairly small pieces so it will cook easily, but I like to leave some bigger chunks in there too. Once the sausage is thoroughly cooked, remove it with a slotted spoon and set it aside. Discard most of the fat, but leave about a tablespoon in there, and leave all the stuck-on brown bits of sausage in the bottom of the pan.
- Turn the heat down to medium. Add the arrowroot and stir it into the fat & brown bits, whisking constantly for about a minute so it doesn’t burn. It will get pretty thick and almost dry.
- Add the coconut milk about 1/3 of the can at a time, and whisk together with the “roux” you just made, incorporating it thoroughly. Some of the browned bits should start to come off the bottom of the pan, too. This is what we want. Keep adding in the coconut milk until it is all incorporated. Add the fennel, sage, cayenne, salt and pepper and mix it in.
- Add the sausage back in and incorporate throughout the gravy. Cook for a moment so everything is heated evenly. Serve immediately over biscuits.
1/2 cup coconut flour
1/4 cup almond flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp cold grass-fed butter (coconut oil is fine here too)
6 egg whites
a little coconut oil
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Grease up 6 cups of a muffin tin with coconut oil.
- Put coconut flour, almond flour, salt and baking powder in the bowl of a food processor. Add the butter and pulse until the butter is incorporated. The butter pieces should be about the size of peas.
- In a blender (or by hand if you’re feeling energetic), whiz the egg whites until they are frothy. Add them to the food processor and pulse a couple times until they’re incorporated. Don’t go crazy though, just pulse it a few times until just blended.
- Distribute the batter evenly into the 6 cups of your muffin tin. It should fill them about 3/4 full. These biscuits don’t rise, so that’s okay. Bake for 15 minutes until the tops are browned.
- Pour your gravy on top, and enjoy.
Try out this recipe and let me know what you think! Do you have a Paleo-ize that recipe request? I will try my best to come up with something for you! Let me know in the comments.