Sunday, December 16, 2012

Savory Biscuits

I had a craving recently for a meat filled bready thing, and had a lot of fun dreaming up the recipe below. My husband prefers the savory – as in salt and seasoning flavors – to the sweet meat version, so I didn’t work on getting the sweet to taste about right.

See the Variations section below the recipe for some ideas on how to tweak this recipe for your own tastes.

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 lb. beef, ground
  • 1/4 lb. chicken, ground
  • 1/4 cup finely diced red onion
  • 1 tbsp (heaping) minced garlic
  • 1/3 cup diced fresh white mushrooms
  • 2 tbsp cooking oil, olive preferred
  • 1 large egg, beaten (or 2 egg whites, beaten)
  • Basic Biscuits, doubling the recipe – read through the Steps before making as there are variations

Seasonings:

  • 1-1/2 tsp Oregano
  • 1-1/2 tsp Thyme
  • 1-1/2 tsp Rosemary
  • 1-1/2 tsp Dill
  • 1 tsp Chili Powder

Utensils:

  • Small sauce pan
  • Fork
  • Cookie sheet
  • Baking paper or butter to grease cookie sheet
  • Paper Towels

Steps:

  1. Brown the onions and the garlic in the sauce pan using the cooking oil on low heat.
  2. Add the meat and 1/2 tsp of each of the seasonings, except Chili Powder – add 1 tsp Chili Powder, brown over medium heat, stirring constantly with the fork to ensure a good fine crumble
  3. Once browned, remove from heat and pat down with fork.
  4. Place paper towels on top of the mixture to soak off excess fats and discard. Meat should be barely moist.
  5. Stir in mushrooms, then set aside.
  6. Make the Basic Biscuit recipe – Rolled Biscuits, with the following changes.
    1. Double the recipe, except for the baking powder – you will still only use 2 tbsp of baking powder total.
    2. Add the remaining seasonings to the dry ingredients
    3. Roll out to 1/8 inch thickness and cut into 3 inch squares
    4. Place 2 tbsp of meat mixture in the center of each square
    5. Brush some of the beaten egg along the sides of the square.
    6. Fold squares into triangles and press down to seal the edges. (Use a fork to press down the edges for a nice ruffled look.)
    7. Bake as directed – 400 Fahrenheit for 10-13 minutes.

Makes approx. 20 savory biscuits.

Variations:

Some variations include changing out the meats used. Pork sausage will make for a very sweet meat pastry, just as an FYI. If you want to go all chicken I would leave out the Oregano and up the Dill a little, but that’s personal taste. You could also opt to use chopped meat instead of ground, but be sure to use a fine chop, nothing much bigger than your finger nails (not the thumb!) as that makes it easier to eat the pastry without having to bite through, or slurp out the meat filling first.

Of course, if you have seasonings you prefer with your choice of meats, use those. A light hand at first will help you find the flavor level that suits you. If you add a sauce to the meat mixture, use it sparingly as the more moisture in the filling, the soggier the savory biscuits will be.

What I’ve so far found with the sweet meat fillings is that the onion can be just that bite of sweet too much when mixed with, for example, oyster sauce, so you may consider increasing the meat portions to compensate for leaving out the onion. I’m a garlic lover, so flavors like teriyaki and sweet chili sauces that are well complimented by garlic seem like they could be my next variation.

If you end up pressed for time, you can use premade pastry dough. Pillsbury makes excellent ready-to-bake biscuits and crescent rolls. Stay away from ones that are “butter flavored” as they don’t tend to blend flavors well with the onions, especially. Cook as directed on the package. However, it’s worth noting that you won’t be able to fit as much filling in the premade dough as they are also pre-sectioned. With the crescent rolls, for example, expect to need about five packages as you’ll use the triangles for two rolls to make one savory biscuit, or you’ll make about 40 half sized savory biscuits by using one triangle per.

Basic Biscuits

I’m setting this down first because the basic biscuit recipe is so essential to most of my baked breads. I have the worst time getting my dough to rise, so I tend to avoid yeasty breads, no matter how delicious they are when other people make them.

You can probably find about a couple thousand dozen variations, but my stand by – and the recipe I most often tweak – is below.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 tbsp baking powder (not soda, POWDER)
  • 1 tsp Kosher salt or 1-1/2 tsp table salt
  • 2 tbsp softened butter
  • 1 – 6 oz [3/4 cup] can evaporated milk (subs.: 3/4 cup light whipping cream or whole milk)

Utensils:

  • Medium sized mixing bowl
  • Fork
  • Cookie Sheet
  • Baking Paper, sometimes called parchment paper or parchment baking paper (if you hate clean up as much as I do (-: )
  • For Rolled Biscuits: rolling pin
  • For Rolled Biscuits: 2 inch circular cookie cutter, or drinking glass with 2 inch diameter

Steps:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 Fahrenheit
  2. Prepare cookie sheet by spreading a layer of baking paper (or grease with butter – do not flour)
  3. Combine dry ingredients in mixing bowl, stir with fork.
  4. Cut the butter into the flour mixture (basically just try to stir it in with the fork – the fork will “cut” the butter into tiny pieces all mixed up with the flour.)
  5. Make a well in the dry mixture.
  6. Pour in the milk.
  7. Mix with fork until all the dry ingredients are wet, forming a stiff, sticky dough.

For Drop Biscuits:

  1. Using fork, scoop out about 1 inch cubed volumes of dough and drop onto prepared cookie sheet, leaving an inch between.
  2. Bake for 10 to 13 minutes, or until golden brown on tips.  - Makes about 10

For Rolled Biscuits:

  1. Flour a working surface and the rolling pin
  2. Turn out dough and knead until dough is an even consistency, about 2 minutes, flouring often
  3. Using rolling pin, roll out dough to about 3/4 inch thickness
  4. Using cookie cutter, cut out biscuits. Be sure to flour the cutter between cuts
  5. You may need to remove cut out biscuits and re-roll the dough to get as much of the biscuits cut out as possible. roll any remaining dough into a ball
  6. Arrange on cookie tray with no less than 1/4 inch of distance, and no more than 1 inch between biscuits
  7. Bake for 10 to 13 minutes, or until tops are golden brown. – Makes about 10