Early Mountain Biscuit Brunch
April 28, 2020
While my quarantine cooking regime started with elaborate doughs that required three separate rises and two days of planning, I quickly settled into a routine of reliable, delicious recipes that require far less planning or time. These biscuits have become a fixture in my kitchen – within 20 minutes, I can pull a tray of warm goodness from the oven, perfect on their own, or topped with honey, chutney, or one of my favorite sweet or savory recipes below to complete the brunch, meal or snack. The heavenly aroma and joy of wrapping them in a fresh tea towel was the inspiration behind this “Biscuit Brunch” gift pack. It includes the dry ingredients for Cathead Biscuits, named for the supposed size comparison, though my daughters call them Kittenhead Biscuits. We also included some locally crafted add-ons (Elysium honey! Virginia Chutney!) as well as a hand-stamped tea towel from local Charlottesville artist Emily Ruth Prints to wrap the warm biscuits. And no gift would be complete without some delicious bottles of Early Mountain wine.
We hope that this gift brings joy to each recipient! Please share pictures of how you dress them up or enjoy them just as they are, fresh from the oven.
Aileen Sevier, Director of Marketing (aka Biscuit Fanatic)
Adapted from "Secrets of the Southern Table" -Virginia Willis
Dry Ingredients (included in the Ball Jar):
3 cups White Lily flour + 4 T to roll
1 1/2 tablespoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons fine sea salt
Fresh Ingredients (Not included)
6 T. cold unsalted butter - cut into pieces
1 1/2 cups buttermilk (if you don’t have buttermilk, use 1 ½ cups milk +1 ½ tablespoons fresh
lemon juice or white distilled vinegar
Preheat Oven to 500°. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a bowl, combine the jar ingredients with the cold butter and cut together with a pastry cutter or two knives until it resembles course meal.
Add buttermilk and combine until just mixed. It will be a shaggy mass.
Turn out on a lightly floured surface and knead 4-5 times gently.
Using a lightly floured rolling pin (or empty wine bottle) roll out to about 1 inch thick. Using a 3-4 inch cutter (or large glass), dip it in flour and then cut out biscuit shapes. Transfer to baking sheet with about 1 in. spacing.
Bake until golden brown 10-12 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack and allow to cool slightly. Serve warm and fresh with jam or honey. Makes 6-7 biscuits.
Or if you’d like to turn your biscuits into a full meal, top with a delicious savory dish. I love Lee Bailey’s Tarragon Creamed River Shrimp & Chicken, simplified below:
Creamed Shrimp, adapted from Lee Bailey’s recipe in Southern Food & Plantation Cooking
¾ cup butter
½ cup chopped green onion (or sub small diced yellow onion)
Small bunch of fresh herbs such as tarragon (my favorite!) or thyme
1 cup chopped red pepper (yellow or orange are fine too! I don’t like green)
2 cups thick sliced fresh mushrooms (or if you or your children dislike mushrooms, peas are a delicious substitute)
¾ cup dry white wine (Pinot Gris is delicious!)
2 cup shrimp, smaller sized (or crawfish tails – Costco has frozen langoustine that is also delicious in this recipe).
Chopped chicken breast can also work)
2 Tablespoons flour
2 cups Half and Half (or Whole milk, which is what I usually use)
Dash of nutmeg or paprika
Salt and pepper to taste
Melt ¼ cup butter in a large saucepan and add the onion. Sauté until softened (1 minute for green onion, 4-5 minutes for yellow onion). Add the mushroom and red pepper and continue to sauté a few minutes. Add ½ cup of the white wine and turn up the heat. (Pour yourself a glass if you haven’t yet! Cooking deserves a reward ;)) Once the wine is half evaporated, add the shrimp (or chicken, or crawfish, or a combination). Sauté until cooked through. If you are using peas instead of mushrooms, add once the shrimp is almost done cooking. Remove from heat.
In a new saucepan, add ½ cup butter and melt over medium heat. Once the butter is bubbly, add the flour and whisk. Turn to low and let cook, continuing to whisk, until the flour smells slightly toasty. Whisk in the milk or half and half, continuing to whisk. If it starts to clump, just keep whisking until it smooths. Keep over low heat until there are some lazy bubbles and the sauce thickens. Add the remaining wine (1/4 cup) and some fresh chopped herbs. Season with salt and pepper, a few grates of fresh nutmeg (optional) or some sweet paprika. Whisk again. Combine the seafood/veggies with the sauce and warm through. Serve over fresh Cathead Biscuits with a sprinkling of paprika and fresh herbs on top.