Monday, January 13, 2014

Biscuits and Gravy

As today is a special occasion - the senior Patriarch's birthday, (that would be Grandad), we are making biscuits and gravy for lunch - well, it is usually a breakfast meal but we like to eat breakfast for lunch or dinner sometimes. This is one of our favorite breakfast-type meals!  This is the sort of meal that starts way before the day - because it contains REAL foods, in this case wonderfully healthy fat known as lard, rendered from a pastured hog, raised organically.  Not to mention the cracklin's which are the yummy bits of roasted, browned pork left over from making lard.  It also starts with home seasoned breakfast sausage, made with ground pork and fresh herbs from the garden.

First make the sausage:

Homestead Breakfast Sausage w/ Fresh Herbs:

  • 1 lb. ground pork (from our home-raised organically fed hog)
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 3/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp finely chopped fresh sage leaves
  • 1 tsp finely chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 1/4 tsp finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves
  • 1/2 tbsp light brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp fresh grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes

Combine ground pork with all other ingredients and mix thoroughly.

Yum!  Can you smell those herbs?

Now, let that rest while you start the biscuits...

Cracklin' Biscuits:

  • 4 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
  • 3/4 cup chopped hog cracklin's
  • 1/4 cup melted butter


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar and salt.  Mix well to ensure proper blending.  Using a pastry blender, cut butter into flour mixture.  Once butter has been well blended into flour, add buttermilk and chopped cracklin's.

Continue to mix until biscuit dough is well formed.  Place dough on a floured board and kneed lightly, 5 or 6 times.  This is what makes them flake apart:)  Roll out dough until approximately 3/4-inch thick.

Cut biscuits with a 3in. biscuit cutter (or a regular big kitchen knife) until all are formed.  I have found they don't have to be shaped nicely to eat good.

Place biscuits in a greased 12-in. cast iron skillet (or a cookie sheet) and drizzle with remaining melted butter.  Bake until golden brown, approximately 25 minutes.

Now as soon as the biscuits go in the oven, brown the sausage and begin the gravy.

Southern Sausage Gravy:

Time to make the gravy!

  • 8 oz. breakfast sausage
  • 2 tbsp pork lard (bacon grease will work too)
  • 3 tbsp flour
  • 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 cups milk
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • dash cayenne pepper (optional)

Cook sausage in a medium skillet over medium-low heat, stirring and breaking up with a spatula.  

With a slotted spoon, remove the browned crumbled sausage to a paper-lined plate.  Add 2 tablespoons lard, bacon grease or olive oil to the drippings in the skillet.  Add flour, stirring until blended and bubbling.

Gradually add 1 1/2 cups of milk; continue stirring until thickened and bubbly.  Add the crumbled sausage.  If too thick, add a little more milk.  Taste and add salt and pepper.  Stir in a dash of cayenne pepper, if desired.

Serve over hot split biscuits - Yummo!

This time we also fried up some sausage links from a local organic farm

Lifeline Farm is a local farm here in Montana that is one of our favorite sources for sustainably raised organic pork (they make really good cheese too!).

I would have had a fabulous photo of the finished product, but I was too hungry to stop for that - maybe next time:)

I hope you enjoy this wonderful meal!

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Goals For The New Year

So, this little Farm Girl in Montana is about to share her journey with you…  A journey our family started on some years ago – of becoming agrarian, living more full lives (maybe busier in some ways), raising our own food (mostly), taking time to love more, and slow down from the clutter of media and common life.

My goals for the New Year – some food for thought for all of us:

+ Practice thankfulness.  Take time to notice – really notice - the good in others and in situations in my life – remember that every moment is a gift and you never know how long you will have the people you love.

+ Become a better sister to my siblings – show the grace that I would like shown to me – be more encouraging and loving – take time to play and hear them - always building them up – remembering the influence I have in their lives will last forever.

+ Become a better friend – work on making others feel at ease when they are around me – focus on what others are interested in – practice turning the conversation away from ME - encouraging others to do what is right and good.

+ Focus more on what I know I need to be working on in the moment – listening, housekeeping, cooking, etc, and with a cheerful heart – not being distracted with emails or internet when family or priorities need me.

+ Work on getting better at my horse training skills – developing my skills of working with horses, developing trust and relationship, softness and sensitivity.

+ I hope to expand my small flock of sheep this year.  Raising meat sheep on pasture – Indian Seekh Kababs – yummo!  If you haven’t tried them – look back soon for a recipe :)

+ Continue to develop my breeding flock of chickens.  Work at building excellence in the flock, as well as developing relationships in the community, working with others to preserve heritage poultry breeds as well as helping folks who are just beginning the journey of raising chickens.

+ Find ways to be a blessing in the community – seeing a need and taking time to help - someone with their children when they get overwhelmed, clean someone’s house when they aren’t able to, or just listen when a friend needs me.

Lord willing I hope to be able to achieve all these goals!

Have a happy new year!