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SEASONAL RECIPES

Recipe: Ladle Southern tomato gravy over buttermilk biscuits in this traditional dish

Biscuits with Tomato Gravy.
Biscuits with Tomato Gravy.Karoline Boehm Goodnick

Serves 6

The Southern specialty tomato gravy is neither gravy nor red sauce but a glorious blend of both. You start with a hearty dose of butter, or bacon fat, if you have some on hand, or plan to serve bacon with your meal. Slowly saute onions in the butter until they soften and then stir in flour to make a simple roux (the classic combination of butter and flour used to thicken sauces). Cook the roux briefly before stirring in chicken stock and then regular globe tomatoes that have been seeded and chopped. As the tomatoes cook down, the sauce thickens and takes on a vibrant red color. Fresh herbs aren't traditional, but like homegrown tomatoes, they're abundant this time of year and add a bit of freshness. Spoon the warm gravy over freshly baked buttermilk biscuits, and savor this indulgence for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

BISCUITS

3cups flour
5teaspoons baking powder
1teaspoon salt
9tablespoons cold butter, cut up
1cup buttermilk
Extra flour (for sprinkling)
1 egg, lightly beaten (for the glaze)

1. Set the oven at 450 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Have on hand a 3 1/2- inch cutter.

2. In a large bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt. With a pastry blender or 2 blunt knives, cut the butter into the flour mixture until it resembles crumbs. Add the buttermilk and stir with a fork until the flour mixture is moistened and the mixture holds together.

3. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured counter. Instead of kneading the dough, fold the dough lightly onto itself several times until it comes together. Shape it into a disk. With a rolling pin or your hands, roll or gently press the dough to a 3/4-inch thickness. With the cutter, stamp out 3 1/2-inch rounds. Press the scraps together and reroll them to shape a total of 6 rounds. Transfer the rounds to the baking sheet.

4. Brush the biscuits with the beaten egg. Bake for 12 to 14 minutes, or until the rounds have risen and turned golden. Let the biscuits cool for 5 minutes.

GRAVY

¼cup (4 tablespoons) butter
½small onion, finely chopped
¼cup flour
1cup chicken stock
2medium tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1teaspoon sugar
½teaspoon hot sauce
2tablespoons buttermillk
Salt and black pepper, to taste
¼cup chopped fresh herbs, such as parsley, basil, and thyme

1. In a large heavy-based saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the onion, and cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes, or until they soften.

2. Add the flour and cook, stirring, for 1 to 2 minutes. Add the chicken stock and stir well to blend it into the roux. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer, stirring often, for 5 minutes.

3. Add the tomatoes and cook, stirring often, for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the tomatoes break down and the gravy thickens.

4. Add the sugar, hot sauce, buttermilk, a pinch each of salt and black pepper, and the herbs. Keep warm.

5. Split each biscuit in half horizontally. Place 2 halves of a biscuit on each plate. Top with warm tomato gravy, and serve with scrambled or fried eggs.

Karoline Boehm Goodnick

Serves 6

The Southern specialty tomato gravy is neither gravy nor red sauce but a glorious blend of both. You start with a hearty dose of butter, or bacon fat, if you have some on hand, or plan to serve bacon with your meal. Slowly saute onions in the butter until they soften and then stir in flour to make a simple roux (the classic combination of butter and flour used to thicken sauces). Cook the roux briefly before stirring in chicken stock and then regular globe tomatoes that have been seeded and chopped. As the tomatoes cook down, the sauce thickens and takes on a vibrant red color. Fresh herbs aren't traditional, but like homegrown tomatoes, they're abundant this time of year and add a bit of freshness. Spoon the warm gravy over freshly baked buttermilk biscuits, and savor this indulgence for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

BISCUITS

3cups flour
5teaspoons baking powder
1teaspoon salt
9tablespoons cold butter, cut up
1cup buttermilk
Extra flour (for sprinkling)
1 egg, lightly beaten (for the glaze)

1. Set the oven at 450 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Have on hand a 3 1/2- inch cutter.

2. In a large bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt. With a pastry blender or 2 blunt knives, cut the butter into the flour mixture until it resembles crumbs. Add the buttermilk and stir with a fork until the flour mixture is moistened and the mixture holds together.

3. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured counter. Instead of kneading the dough, fold the dough lightly onto itself several times until it comes together. Shape it into a disk. With a rolling pin or your hands, roll or gently press the dough to a 3/4-inch thickness. With the cutter, stamp out 3 1/2-inch rounds. Press the scraps together and reroll them to shape a total of 6 rounds. Transfer the rounds to the baking sheet.

4. Brush the biscuits with the beaten egg. Bake for 12 to 14 minutes, or until the rounds have risen and turned golden. Let the biscuits cool for 5 minutes.

GRAVY

¼cup (4 tablespoons) butter
½small onion, finely chopped
¼cup flour
1cup chicken stock
2medium tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1teaspoon sugar
½teaspoon hot sauce
2tablespoons buttermillk
Salt and black pepper, to taste
¼cup chopped fresh herbs, such as parsley, basil, and thyme

1. In a large heavy-based saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the onion, and cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes, or until they soften.

2. Add the flour and cook, stirring, for 1 to 2 minutes. Add the chicken stock and stir well to blend it into the roux. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer, stirring often, for 5 minutes.

3. Add the tomatoes and cook, stirring often, for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the tomatoes break down and the gravy thickens.

4. Add the sugar, hot sauce, buttermilk, a pinch each of salt and black pepper, and the herbs. Keep warm.

5. Split each biscuit in half horizontally. Place 2 halves of a biscuit on each plate. Top with warm tomato gravy, and serve with scrambled or fried eggs.Karoline Boehm Goodnick