Friday, November 26, 2010

Reinventing Thanksgiving Leftovers - Sweet Potato Biscuits & Thyme Gravy

To people outside the South biscuits and gravy may seem like an exotic dish, but to Southerners it's commonplace.  Like many people my age, I have moved away from home and find myself craving things that I didn't care much for as a kid (S.O.S.!!!).  When I'm craving something my grandma and mom used to make for me, I now have make it for myself.   I think my grandma would have a heart attack if she knew I paid $8 for a small plate of poblano-cheddar biscuits and country sausage gravy at a local restaurant because I didn't know how to make it myself!

sweet potato biscuits & thyme gravy

Today I put a twist on the classic biscuits and gravy by making sweet potato biscuits and thyme gravy.  This recipe is great for this post-Thanksgiving weekend when you probably have leftover sweet potatoes in the fridge that no one wants to eat since all the marshmallows are gone!  I will admit that my biscuits are delicious but not as good as my mom's!  I'm pretty sure it's because I use whole wheat dough instead.  And because things taste better when your mom makes them!

Click through for the recipe!

I have a guilty pleasure (eerrrr, several guilty pleasures)!  I read GOOP, Gweneth Paltrow's controversial newsletter.   Her Tuesday newsletter had a sweet potato biscuit recipe and I was into it.  I made them that night and, well, those were terrible.  There was way too much liquid in the batter and they were not even biscuit-like at all.  Then I turned to Martha.  Martha > Gweneth.   Martha ftw!!!!!

Sweet Potato Thyme Biscuits
makes about 8 biscuits

1 3/4 cups whole wheat flour, plus more for kneading and shaping (all purpose will work, too)
2 tablespoons light-brown sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon fresh thyme
6 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, cut into pieces, plus 1/2 tablespoon melted butter and more for pan (put the cubed butter in the freezer for about 30 minutes)
3/4 cup Sweet-Potato Puree, chilled
1/3 cup buttermilk (or a little less than 1/3 cup milk with about half a tablespoon of vinegar until it curdles and turns into buttermilk) 
whisk - flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and baking soda. 
mix - With a pastry cuter or two knives, cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse meal, with chunks of butter.  In a small bowl, whisk together sweet potato purée and buttermilk; stir quickly into flour mixture until combined (do not overmix). 
knead - Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface, and knead very gently until dough comes together but is still slightly lumpy, five or six times. (If dough is too sticky, work in up to 1/4 cup additional flour.) 
cut - Shape dough into a disk, and pat to an even 1-inch thickness. With a floured 2-inch biscuit cutter, cut out biscuits as close together as possible. Gather together scraps, and repeat to cut out more biscuits (do not reuse scraps more than once).  
bake - Preheat oven to 425 degrees and put the rack on lower shelf. Butter an 8-inch cake pan. Arrange biscuits snugly in pan (to help them stay upright). Brush with melted butter. Bake until golden, rotating once, 20 to 24 minutes.

I made a vegetarian thyme gravy to top the sweet potato biscuits, but that didn't stop me from adding browned ham to my plate!

Vegetarian Thyme Gravy Recipe
adapted from my mom's classic recipe, but she doesn't even measure anymore so I had to make due.

serves 2
2 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons whole wheat flour (but all purpose will work)
2 cups milk
1 teaspoon of fresh thyme
salt & pepper to taste!

melt - the butter in a skillet until it's light brown.
sprinkle - the flour into the butter and whisk it together to form the roux.
pour - slowly pour in the milk and whisk, whisk, whisk so you don't get a lumpy gravy.
add - the thyme, salt and pepper to taste.
cook - until the gravy reaches a boil, then turn down to a simmer for 2-3 minutes.

I leave you with a picture of my dog, Radio, in his Sunday best at Thanksgiving yesterday!