Two of my favorite things coming together as one. It just doesn’t get any better than this. Well, a cigar wouldn’t hurt, but I’m not complaining. I’m all about comfort food. Everyone loves it. If you don’t, you’re a liar. I’m also all about IPA’s. It’s my personal favorite style of beer and can come in many different colors. The bitter citrus, the sweet malt, the hop bite; what’s there not to love? As it turns out, it goes very well with a lot of foods, too. So, I decided to mash the two together and do a pairing with them with the added bonus of instructions on how to make the dish yourself because what fun is it if you can’t eat this yourself?
Now, I was born and raised in New York, so biscuits and gravy is a dish that I didn’t grow up with. I think that’s one of the reasons why I love it so much; all the wasted years not eating it. However, me being me, plain old biscuits and gravy aren’t good enough to do a pairing with. I had to kick it up a bit…..
…. And what better way to do that than to add beer to the recipe? Better yet, why not add an IPA? Great idea, I know. When people heard about this, they thought I added the beer to the gravy when in actuality, I added it to the biscuit dough. The recipe for that dough is as follows….
4 cups white flour
1 and 1/2 sticks of butter (softened at room temperature)
1 tsp. of salt
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. sugar
1 12 ounce can or bottle of IPA of your choosing
Standard biscuit making procedure follows. Sift the dry ingredients together, cut the butter into the dry ingredients, pour the beer into the mixture and form into a dough. The product should look like this…..
… Attractive, I know. Now form into biscuits, whatever size you feel is appropriate, and bake in the oven at 425 degrees for 15-20 minutes, and voila.
Onto the gravy. Now, I’m a carnivore, but my girlfriend is a vegetarian (unfortunately), so I had to make a vegetarian gravy to top the biscuits with, which is okay because it makes the cooking a bit easier. The ingredients for the gravy are…
1 medium to large onion
1 clove of garlic
1 stick of butter
1/2 cup of flour
Broth or soup of your choosing
Rosemary, cumin, salt, and cayenne powder to taste
Start by finely dicing the onion and garlic and caramelizing them in a sauce pan. After they’re nice and sweet, add the butter and flour to make a roux. This is where I add my seasonings. I wanted to add just enough cayenne to get a bit of a smoky and spicy flavor on the mid palate, but not enough to make it hot. The rosemary is added just because it goes fantastically with IPAs. Finally, add your broth until it is at the consistency of your liking.
Now top and enjoy with your favorite IPA.
Finally, onto the pairing.
I chose Pliny the Elder because, well, it’s Pliny the Elder. First bite of the biscuit gives off a very velvety, creamy texture with a nice crust, that is suddenly brought to a halt by a sweet maltiness and hop bitterness, but not like you would find in a beer. It’s very subtle, but enough to give the biscuits a little something they were missing, as they would’ve been kind of “one note” before. Mixing with the gravy brings a whole new level. There’s a creamy, sweetness from the onions, bit of heat and smokiness on the middle of the tongue and a nice earthy, herbal note throughout. Now, the trifecta. The Pliny cuts through the fatty, creaminess from the butter and flour nicely. It melds very well with the heat given off by the cayenne. It doesn’t subdue it’s flavor, just the heat a bit, allowing you to taste the actual flavor of the cayenne and not just the heat. It helps bring forth a nice smoky, earthy, and floral flavor that was hidden before. It plays nicely with the rosemary. The marriage of the two helps bring forth more piney flavors from both the rosemary and the Pliny. It helps add a nice clean finish to a very rich and heavy meal and helps lighten the palate. The hop bitterness, citrus flavors, and malt of the Pliny also add another dimension of flavor to the biscuits and meld very nicely with the sweet onion flavor.
This was verging on perfect. Cheap, easy to make, and an absolutely delicious pairing. I can die happy now.