Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Thoroughly Mexican? Not So Much.

Biscuit rounds and salmon can cutter
At some point during any stay with Pops O'Food, usually on one's last morning, you will be treated to the sound of bacon sizzling in a skillet and the smell of biscuits baking in the oven. You are in store for an original: POF's biscuits and gravy. After just one bite, folks cease their search for The Best. They've found them right in my father's kitchen. I stopped ordering them off of menus years ago. The experience was always a major disappointment. As I recall, the last straw was at a Waffle House somewhere in North Carolina. The waitress there plopped something in front of me so disgusting and so obviously NOT biscuits and gravy, that the plate sat untouched. I've never looked back.
Pops has been making perfect B&G since he was a boy. Back then, eggs, potatoes, sausage, ham, bacon, biscuits and gravy from the pan drippings were a staple served every morning. Who knew about cholesterol back then? Would it have mattered? These were poor country folk living off the land with plow and rifle, and a hearty breakfast kept them going until suppertime.
These days, knowing what to expect, I sit back in eager anticipation of the reaction people new to Pop's biscuits and gravy express. The looks on some of their faces are classic. The scales drop from their eyes. They are moved to poetry and singing. I smilingly nod in meaningful agreement.
Buttermilk Biscuits and Pan Gravy - a recipe by Pops O'Food
  • 2 cups self-rising flour, plus extra for rolling out dough
  • 1 cup buttermilk, plus or minus for stiff batter
  • 2 Tbsp peanut oil
In a large mixing bowl, stir in just enough buttermilk into the flour to form a stiff dough. Sprinkle extra flour onto the dough and on a cutting board or other clean, flat surface and roll out dough to about ½ inch. Using an empty, cleaned large Alaskan salmon can (Pops O'Food is very particular about his cutter), or another round dough cutter, cut out biscuits. Dredge both sides through peanut oil in a cast iron skillet or baking sheet and crowd together. Bake in a 395° pre-heated oven until golden brown, about 18 minutes. (Check the bottom of your biscuits a few minutes early.)
Pan Drippings Gravy:
  • ½ lb bacon or sausage links
  • 3 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1½ cups 2% milk
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
Brown bacon or sausage until crisp and fat is rendered. Remove meat from skillet, reserving grease. Add enough all-purpose flour for a 1:1 ratio of fat to flour and cook over medium-high heat for several minutes. You're looking for a brownish hue to your roux. Pour in milk, add sugar and stir frequently until gravy thickens and small bubbles start to rise from the bottom of the skillet. Season to taste with salt and black pepper. Split golden buttermilk biscuits and smother in hot gravy.
Pops O'Food buttermilk biscuitsPops O'Food biscuits and gravy with eggs, bacon and hashbrowns
This is nothing short of authentic, down home cookin' Grandma used to make. Genuine. Unpretentious. The real deal. This is the kind of food that makes me so appreciative of my roots, especially proud to call Pops O'Food my father.
Thanks for taking the time - Blog O. Food

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