I made that!

Just Another Dirty Southern Brunch

Posted in I Like Salt Too, Playing With Yeast, Southernness by brandi on November 15, 2009

Sometimes I just have these cravings…Southern cravings. They come on fast and hard and suddenly I just NEED to recreate something from my younger days. Yesterday I was entertaining friends for brunch. The night before, I was flipping through cookbooks, trying to find something complex and interesting to make. I was feeling particularly uninspired until I passed over a recipe for angel biscuits, which are basically biscuits leavened with yeast along with the more traditional baking powder. My mouth instantaneously started drooling as I recounted the feathery light biscuits the South is known for. And then there was nothing else I could possibly cook. There was no complicated quiche, no perfectly stacked benedict and certainly no fancy-pants pastry that could substitute for that biscuit. Thus, it was on.

And of course, where there’s biscuits, there’s bacon gravy.

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But the biscuits. Did I mention they have yeast in them?

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And of course, lard. Yes, I keep a block of lard in my freezer.

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I rubbed the lard with some butter into my flour mixture.

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And then poured in the yeast and some buttermilk.

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I mixed (but just barely) that into a dough, pressed it out and stamped out my biscuits.

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Then I let them rise by the fireplace until they were nice and puffed.

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And then baked them until they had a nice crispy crust. And oh boy, they were yummy. Pretty much the perfect biscuit. So good that it almost seemed like a waste to pour gravy all over them. Not that that stopped me.

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But could I stop with the biscuits and gravy? No. I wanted more. I wanted dirty. I wanted pimento cheese. Chances are that if you live on the wrong (or right) side of the mason-dixon line, you’ve never heard of such a thing. Let me tell you, it is kinda gross. And delicious. Think cheddar. Mixed with roasted peppers (In the South they have these jarred pimentos, I have no idea what makes those so special or why you can only get them there). And mayonnaise. Oh yes, I went there.

But since I DO have my limits, I at least made my own mayonnaise. Because that jarred stuff gives me the willies.

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In a big bowl I threw in shredded cheddar, finely diced roasted red peppers, paprika, cayenne and some black pepper.

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And stirred in my mayonnaise. Like I said, Dirty. It was not a brunch for the delicate eater, and I suspect I actually scarred Tessa (even though I totally caught her dipping a finger in the pimento cheese when she thought no one was looking), but it was worth the heartburn.

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ANGEL BISCUITS RECIPE (adapted from Edna Lewis):

1 package (1/4 oz) active dry yeast

1/4 cup warm water

2 cups buttermilk, at room temperature

5 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 cup sugar

1 TBSP baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1 TBSP salt

4 oz lard, cold

4 oz butter, cold

melted butter for brushing the biscuits

– Dissolve the yeast in the warm water, let stand for 5 minutes. Stir in the room temperature buttermilk.

– Put the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt i a large bowl. Mix thoroughly. Using your fingers, rub in the lard and butter, being careful to keep large flat pieces.

– Stir in the yeast and buttermilk and mix until just blended.

– Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead a few times, to make smooth. Roll to a thickness of 1/2″ and stamp out biscuits.

– Place biscuits on a parchment lined baking sheet. Cover lightly with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place for 45 minutes.

– Brush tops with melted but and bake in a preheated 450 oven for about 12 minutes, until golden brown.

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7 Responses

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  1. Nir said, on November 15, 2009 at 7:40 pm

    The South Shall Rise Again!

  2. Sadako said, on November 19, 2009 at 2:01 pm

    Mmmm, now I want biscuits.

  3. Mari said, on December 3, 2009 at 8:15 am

    AMEN, I love a lady who isn’t afraid to use lard. Sometimes i wonder how Crisco ever got popular, it doesn’t make any damn sense.

  4. Janet said, on December 4, 2009 at 12:57 pm

    Hi, I just found your blog through Orangette.

    Are there really no pimentos in Seattle? I didn’t realize that. I live in VA and will be home in Seattle for the holidays, do you want me to bring some from Harris Teeter for you?

    • brandi said, on December 5, 2009 at 9:35 am

      Thank you! That is so sweet of you to offer! I go home to Alabama for the holidays, so I definitely be loading up on the good (and not so good) stuff then. I actually made this meal while still living in San Francisco, so I’m not sure what the jarred pimento situation is in Seattle. Molly’s hubby Brandon mentioned that you could get fresh ones in the summer, so I’m excited about that.

  5. Janet said, on December 5, 2009 at 11:21 am

    Haha, I realized that later, too “wait, if I’m going home, she’s probably doing the same . . .” anyways, I’m glad you can stock up however how it happens.

    If you take small suggestions from the peanut gallery I would definitely love seeing you can your own pimentos next summer. It might even be a food blogsphere first. I’m a canning virgin so next summer I’ll probably start off with the simple stuff myself.

  6. Heather Reeves Coleman said, on September 11, 2012 at 8:15 pm

    I am replying to a mega old post, but have you ever had Blue Moon Pimento Cheese? Amazing stuff (although instead of pimento stuffed olives I just use pimento– as much as I try, I am not a fan of olives!) It has pecans, chili sauce and Worcestershire in it. The Blue Moon in was in Montgomery but closed in the 60’s. Shashy’s served it for a long time, but I am not sure if they still do.


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