BISCUITS AND GRAVY
For the biscuits:
- 3 cups flour (15 ounces)
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter cut into 1/2 inch pieces and chilled
- 4 tablespoons vegetable shortening cut into 1/2 inch pieces and chilled
- 1 1/4 cups buttermilk
For the gravy:
- 1/4 cup flour
- 1 teaspoon ground fennel
- 1 teaspoon ground sage
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 1/2 pounds pork sausage
- 3 cups whole milk
To make the biscuits:
Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 450 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a food processor, pulse flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, butter, and shortening in until mixture resembles coarse meal, about 15 pulses. Transfer to large bowl. Stir in buttermilk until combined.
On a lightly floured counter, turn out dough. Knead until smooth, about 8 to 10 times. Pat dough into 9-inch circle, about 3/4 inch thick.
Using 3-inch biscuit cutter dipped in flour, cut rounds of dough (do not twist cutter) and arrange on prepared baking sheet. Gather remaining dough, pat into 3/4-inch-thick circle, and cut out remaining biscuits. (You should have 8 biscuits total.)
Bake until biscuits begin to rise, about 5 minutes, then rotate pan and reduce oven temperature to 400 degrees. Continue baking until golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes longer, then transfer to wire rack and let cool. (Biscuits can be stored in zipper-lock bag for up to 2 days.)
To make the gravy:
Combine flour, fennel, sage, and 1 1/2 teaspoons pepper into small bowl.
In a large skillet over medium-high heat, cook sausage until no longer pink, about 8 minutes. Break up any clumps with a wooden spoon.
Sprinkle flour mixture over sausage and cook, stirring constantly, until flour has been absorbed, about 1 minute.
Slowly stir in milk and simmer until gravy has thickened, about 5 minutes. Season with salt to taste. Serve over split biscuits.
To Substitute Buttermilk: in a small bowl, whisk 1 tablespoon lemon juice into 1 1/4 cups of milk. Let stand until slightly thickened, about 10 minutes.