Sausage Gravy Buns

A couple of years ago, I made up some 'pizza buns'.  I made up some pizza dough, rolled it out into a rectangle, covered it with pizza toppings, rolled it up like cinnamon buns, topped it with a bit more pizza sauce and cheese, and baked them up.  On a cold drive out to a winter camping spot, they were devoured by my troop of hungry scouts.

A couple of months ago, I saw King Arthur Flour's recipe for Quick Rise Caramel Buns.  I tried it for my family, but they were a bit put off by their 'biscuity-ness' (I thought they were fine, and even made a batch using my friend's gluten-free flour mix).

Yesterday, I was struck with a great idea.  Savory buns worked out really well, and (I thought) the biscuit style buns were pretty good -- why not combine the two?  I decided to make breakfast for dinner, and this is what I did:

I started by whipping up some sausage gravy (yeah, this is another scout camp favorite).
1# breakfast sausage

1 T butter
1/4 c flour
2 c butter milk

Fry the sausage until cooked through and lightly browned.  Try to chop up the sausage with a spatula as it cooks to create smaller chunks.  Once the sausage is done, add the butter and melt it.  Then, add the flour and mix well to create a roux of sorts.  Once you've smoothed out all the lumps, you can add the buttermilk and stir while the gravy thickens.  After the gravy is thick, add salt and pepper to taste and remove from the heat.

Now, to the biscuit/buns ...
2 c flour (plus extra for rolling it out)
1/2 c instant mashed potato flakes
4 t baking powder
1 t salt
1 large egg
1/4 c melted butter
1 c buttermilk

Grease a pie pan, and preheat your oven to 350F.

Combine the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl, then add the egg, butter, and buttermilk.  Mix together and knead lightly.  You're looking for a smooth, not quite sticky, dough.  Turn it out onto a floured board and roll into a rectangle about 9" x 14".

Spread 1/2 of the sausage onto the biscuit dough, leaving an inch or so clear on one long edge.  Roll the dough and sausage to form a cinnamon bun like roll.  Slice it into 1-2" think slices and place into the pie pan.

Bake the buns for 25-30 minutes, or until golden brown and done.  (Internal temp should be 195F.)

During the last 10 minutes or so of baking, add another 2 cups of buttemilk to the remaining half of the gravy.  Cook over medium heat to thinken, then add salt and pepper to taste.

Separate the sausage-gravy buns onto plates, top with remaining gravy, and serve.


Reading List Update 9/8/2010

The recent news that GDB now supports D makes The D Programming Language jump up a notch or two on my reading list.
I've finished 52 Loaves: One Man's Relentless Pursuit of Truth, Meaning, and a Perfect Crust, it was a fun read.  I really identified with his trip to the French monastery. It seemed like a great climax to his year, with the perfect denouement as he came home to bake his final loaves.
With a chance to get involved with a local restaurant group (not behind the counter though), the food books are still winning out in my what to read next decisions.


Sunday Dinner - Sep 5, 2010

Michael's headed off to his first Homecoming Dance next week, and like overprotective parents everywhere, we wanted to know the girl he's taking. We decided the best way to do that was to invite Jane (the girl in question) and her parents over to Sunday dinner.

Pollyanna and I worked up a menu, got Michael's approval, and made the invitations. We decided on a stuffed pork loin, rot kraut, ratatouille, and rolls. Jane and her mom offered to bring a dessert. On Saturday, we headed off to Sunflower Market to pick some things up. The real fun began on Sunday though.

Pollyanna and Michael set the table and then I sent Michael into the garden for summer squash, tomatoes, red cabbage, and leeks. Pollyanna whipped up the dough for her rolls, and I put the wild rice on to simmer and chopped up some bacon to brown. Once the rice was done, I added the mushrooms and let it set for a bit.

While the rice cooled, I skinned the eggplant then chopped it, the squash, the tomatoes, a bit of garlic, some leeks, and a yellow onion. The veggies all went into my dutch oven with some kosher salt, crushed black pepper, balsamic vinegar, and olive oil.

With that in the oven, I got going on the pork loin. The first step was to cut it (jelly roll style), and lay it out. Then I brushed on a mixture of olive oil, balsamic, and a touch of liquid smoke. A touch of kosher salt and black pepper was followed with a layer of baby leeks from the garden. Next I spooned on the rice and mushrooms, spread that evenly across the top, and finished it with the chopped bacon I'd browned earlier.

I rolled the whole thing back up, rolled it tightly in foil, and popped it in the oven to start roasting alongside the ratatouille.

Next I shredded the cabbage, thinly sliced some onion and a pair of granny smith apples. I tossed the onion into a saute pan with the bacon grease and let them soften over low heat. As they started to brown, I added the apples and the cabbage and covered the whole thing. While the rot kraut softened, I mixed up some balsamic vinegar, ground cloves, and brown sugar to add a bit of extra flavor to the dish. After ten minutes or so, I added my vinegar mix, stirred everything up, and removed it from the heat.

As Pollyanna shaped the rolls, I pulled the pork loin back out, sliced it into individual servings, and put it back in the oven to finish.

The rolls went in at the same time. Fifteen minutes later, we were ready to plate and serve.

Dinner was a great success, we enjoyed meeting Jane and her family, and everyone ended up having a good time. Now, it's time to start planning next week's Sunday dinner. What are you eating these days?


My Reading List on 8/31/2010

Thanks to Prentice Hall and Addison-Weseley giving me three new books, my reading list has bulked back up. Here's what I'm working through at the moment:

What are you reading? Why?