The Wine Police Pt. II
As I stated in a recent blog post, most people still believe that pairing food and wine is sacred territory upon which only board certified sommeliers and tenured chefs should tread. This led me to think about pushing the boundaries a bit further and to try a pairing that is both crazy-sounding and obvious at the same time:
Champagne (or sparkling wine)
with Biscuits and Gravy
My own test-driving of this combination was all serendipity. I’m not a huge fan of mimosas but I love sparkling wine as much as the next person. In fact, making sure a bottle is always on-hand is up there with paying the electric bill. So, on a recent Sunday afternoon with work to do in the yard, a sturdy brunch was in order and only sparkling wine would do for this dish.
I prefer a Blanc de Noir (all Pinot Noir) in this case, given the overt richness of the food. An excellent choice for this recipe is the J. Albin Blanc De Noir Sparkling Wine 2007. A sparkler that is entirely Chardonnay-based might come across as austere. The real tease here is the creamy textures – both in glass and on plate – fighting for a spot on your palate, with the wine’s natural acidity slicing right through the butter cream and creating an overall feel of lightness rather than heft.
Without further ado, here is the recipe. And as a twist on the traditional warning: Please, whatever you do….try this at home!
Recipe: Biscuits and Gravy – With Champagne on the Side!
This is a traditional recipe that includes all of the fatty, salty elements needed to make good biscuits and good gravy. This one is all about portion size; if you’re worried about your heart or your waistline, limit yourself to one biscuit and a small ladle-full of gravy. Pleasure is hard won in this life and most of us simply don’t spend enough time in the kind of rapt pleasure that food and wine provide. The rest is, as they say, gravy.
2 cups Flour (self-rising)
1/4 cup Butter (or lard)
1 cup buttermilk
Preheat oven to 475
In a mixing bowl, cut the cold butter into the flour and mix until it resembles corn meal (small crumbs).
Blend in the buttermilk until the dough just comes together. The dough will still be sticky. Place the dough on a flour-coated surface and kneed for 1 minute.
Press the dough until it is 1 inch think and then, using a cookie form, cut into biscuits of desired shape.
Place the biscuits together on a baking sheet so that they barely touch and bake for 12-15 minutes or until lightly golden on top.
1 pound fresh ground breakfast sausage (should contain sage)
3 tablespoons butter or bacon drippings
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 cups milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
In a large skillet over medium-high heat, brown the sausage (but do not drain).
Add your butter or bacon drippings, salt, flour and cook until flour begins to brown. Slowly add milk and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and stir as it thickens, about 2 minutes.
Slice warm biscuits in half, pour desired amount of gravy on top and serve with a cool glass of J. Albin Brut Blanc de Noir.
About the author Jean Yates