2010-03-11: Biscuits and Tomato Gravy

On comfort food and starting over again.

Not a lot of people I meet know about biscuits and tomato gravy and most (like my beloved Mr Wiggins) think it sounds a little weird and gross. Especially in Australia, where "biscuits" don't mean fluffy scone like quick bread rolls. Until the internet arrived, there were very few people outside my family who knew what tomato gravy was. Now I can see that there are plenty of other places where you can find recipes.

This, however, is the one that I learned from my mom and subsequently tweaked to suit myself. My mom learned it from her mom, who probably picked it up in Georgia or some other southern state when my mom and her siblings were growing up as wandering minister's children. It was one of my favourite breakfast treats growing up, and nowadays when I'm really after some comfort food on the weekend I make this and scrambled eggs for pure, unadulterated bliss.

Like the best home-cooked recipes, this one has nothing resembling an exact measurement. You just have to practice until you get it tasting the way you like it. This is also just enough for one person, since I can never convince Adam to give it a try.

First I make the dough for the biscuits. I use the "Aunt Daisy's Biscuits" recipe from a recipe book my mom gave me called Georgia Plantation and Historical Homes Cookbook (good luck finding your own copy, just ask me for the recipe sometime). When the biscuits are in the oven baking, I start making the gravy.

  • Slice or chop 2 big, juicy, ripe tomatoes
  • Heat some butter in a skillet
  • Fry the tomatoes in the butter, adding salt and pepper, until the flesh starts to soften and the skin curls up and separates
  • Pour some milk in over the tomatoes until they are completely covered
  • Dissolve a couple of teaspoons of flour in a little more milk. When the milk in the pan starts to bubble, add the flour and milk paste to thicken the gravy.
  • Let the gravy cook until it gets as thick as you want it. There should still be chunks of tomato left. Adjust the salt and pepper if needed; it should be really savoury, with enough salt to really accentuate the flavour of the tomatoes and enough pepper to give it some zing.

At this point, the biscuits should be out of the oven cooling. I scramble some eggs, take a couple of biscuits and split them in half, smother them in gravy and put the scrambled eggs on the side. Then I sit down and enjoy.

I've been on a real comfort food kick lately (much to the detriment of my waistline). 2009 was a tough year for me, which is why I didn't really blog much. A new house, a renovation, a partner who fell seriously ill in the middle of that and a hectic last minute move into the new place. It took the rest of the year just to start feeling normal again.

So my not-yet-renovated kitchen is getting some creative cooking use, and I turn back to the recipes from my childhood (hard to come by good Mexican food and Southern Soul Food in Sydney, so I extra-enjoy it when I make it for myself).

Hangin' out on the porch...

I'm still knitting, and spinning, and those creative outlets haven't suffered too much from my Year of Insanity. I should have an update soon on my very first entry into the Royal Arts Show!

Here's to all the little things that bring us comfort when outrageous fortune starts slinging arrows.

Welcome back! I really do need to come and see your new place, it looks gorgeous :)

Lara rhubarbandcustard@mac.com 12 Mar 2010

Thanks! The new place does look good-- until you go in the bathroom, kitchen, or look in the back yard. But we had to leave more projects, or else what would we do for fun? :-D

Andrea Roceal roceal@jngm.net 12 Mar 2010

Indeed this is something of which I've never heard. Not really a fan of tomatoes, but it seems like one cooks them such that they're not really recognizable as the original fruit.

Sorry to hear that 2009 was a bad one for you. I'm certainly glad that things have been getting back to normal. And the good thing about waistlines is that they can always be shrunk back down :)

Kevin lundeberg@gmail.com 12 Mar 2010