BISCUITS + COUNTRY HAM GRAVY
With the arrival of the autumn equinox, this comfort-food classic gets elevated to a new level thanks to chef Jeremiah Langhorne of The Dabney in Washington, D.C. When a Virginia son tells you to add country ham to your gravy, you do it, and thank him later.
Recipe and photo courtesy of Jeremiah Langhorne and The Dabney.
Yields about 6-8 large or 18-22 small.
- 6 cups White Lilly flour (Self-Rising)
- 2 1/4 cups high-quality buttermilk
- 1 lb. high-quality butter
- 25 grams of Salt
- 4 grams freshly ground black pepper
- 1 whole egg, plus 1 yolk
- 1 tsp. water
Yields about 6-8 cups.
- 6 oz. good-quality sliced country ham (such as Edwards)
- 4 cups milk
- 2 oz. butter
- 2 oz. flour
- Salt and cracked black pepper to taste
Dice butter and freeze. Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Mix the flour, salt, and pepper, then chill. Cut the butter into flour using your hands or a tool. Once the flour will clump when squeezed, but still falls apart when you poke it, it’s ready. Using your hand like a whisk, mix the buttermilk into the flour, just until it comes together in a dough ball. Fold the dough back on itself a couple of times but be careful not to overwork it. Lay out on a flat floured surface and pat it down into a flat shape, about 2 inches thick. Using a ring mold of desired size, punch out biscuits. Grease the inside of a cast-iron pan with a small amount of butter. Place biscuits in pan and chill for 10 minutes in fridge. Mix egg wash by combining whole egg plus one yolk and water. Mix well with a whisk. Using a pastry brush (or back of spoon), apply to top of biscuits. Bake for 5 minutes at 450 degrees, then drop the oven temperature down to 375 and bake for another 5 to 8 minutes. Check to make sure they are fully baked by lifting one of the tops of the biscuits in the center and looking inside. It should look fluffy and cooked. If its gooey, it needs more time.
In a cast-iron pan on medium heat, fry half of your ham slices, especially the fattier ones, flipping them occasionally until all of the fat has rendered out. Remove the ham slices from the pan, place them on a towel to drain, and reserve for later. In the same pan that you rendered the ham in, add the butter and melt on medium heat until foamy. Whisk in the flour little by little until a roux is formed. Continue to cook roux for another 2 to 3 minutes to cook out the raw flour taste. Begin to add the milk one cup at a time, fully incorporating each time. At first, it will get really thick but continue to add the milk and you will see it return to a nice consistency. Season with salt and pepper to taste. The remaining ham should be chopped into small pieces and added to the gravy. If the gravy is too thick for your liking, simply add a little more milk but make sure to adjust the seasoning as well.