Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Sweet potato biscuits with chorizo cream gravy and Foodways Texas

sweet potato biscuits

On Wednesday mornings, I take a tour of Texas’s foodways via its newspapers. I may learn about Mexican cookies being baked in San Antonio; a chile pepper rivalry between El Paso and New Mexico; a sausage festival in Lubbock; the effects of extreme heat on the Valley’s citrus industry; and how this year’s crop of Galveston oysters have finally arrived.

Foodways is defined by Merriam-Webster as “the eating habits and culinary practices of a people, region, or historical period.” And Texan foodways are an endless source of fascination for me, a topic I never tire of consuming whether it’s through research, discussion or by simply sharing Texan food at the table.

I've mentioned my association with the Southern Foodways Alliance (SFA), a group dedicated to preserving Southern food culture. And while I do consider Texas part of the South, I also consider it beyond being simply Southern as Texas, with its diverse foodways that span from the Mexican border, along the Gulf Coast, through the Piney Woods and Hill Country on up to the panhandle plains, is a place unique to itself.



Back in July, I was part of a group comprised of restaurateurs, writers, ranchers, farmers, fisherman, brewers and academics that met on the campus of Texas A&M with the purpose of creating a group dedicated to preserving, promoting and celebrating our rich food culture. And by the end of the day, we had formed a new group known as Foodways Texas.

We’re still in the early stages, but we have an executive director—Marvin Bendele an academic and author who worked on the fine book, “The Republic of Barbecue.” We also have a web site, foodwaystexas.com; two upcoming fundraising/membership-drive events—one in Houston and one in San Antonio; we have produced our first film on Texan sorghum syrup; and we are planning a symposium on Gulf seafood to be held next spring. We also have an alliance with the University of Texas, which will support our oral-history projects, films and other documentary work; and we also have a relationship with Texas A&M, which through its various statewide campuses will help with hosting our events.

I’m excited about Foodways Texas because we’ll be able document our state’s great food stories, such as the wonderful ones my grandmother shares about our family’s farming history. But beyond being an historical endeavor, we’ll also have fun gathering and sharing our state’s cuisine. If you love Texan food and culture, I urge you to join Foodways Texas so together we can share and celebrate the great state of Texas’s amazingly rich and diverse food cultures.



Now, before I let you go, please let me share with you a dish that could be considered emblematic of Texan foodways: sweet potato biscuits with chorizo gravy.

My family has long grown sweet potatoes. And they’ll definitely be on the table at Thanksgiving, as they are every year. We mash them and use them in sweet potato pie, but let me tell you—they also make for an excellent biscuit as well. I got the idea for these from the SFA symposium—they were served at a breakfast at the symposium that I missed. But just the thought of sweet potato biscuits had me curious so as soon as I returned to New York, I took to my kitchen to try making them.

I have an old recipe for potato biscuits and I simply swapped the sweet potato for the regular potato. If you’re a fan of the tender sweetness of potato bread, I know that you’ll love these biscuits. And because many of us enjoy drowning our biscuits in cream gravy, I decided to take this Texan classic and throw in some Mexican chorizo and cilantro as a nod to Texas’s various heritages.



Please enjoy these sweet potato biscuits and the chorizo gravy. And please also think about joining Foodways Texas, so we can all preserve, promote and celebrate the diverse food cultures of Texas.

Sweet potato biscuits with chorizo cream gravy



Ingredients for the sweet potato biscuits:
1 sweet potato (about 1/2 pound)
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon chipotle powder
8 tablespoons (1 stick) cold butter, sliced
1/2 cup buttermilk or half-and-half

Ingredients for chorizo cream gravy:
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/4 pound Mexican chorizo, crumbled
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
Salt
Black pepper
Chipotle chile powder

Instructions:
Preheat the oven to 400 °F. Poke holes in the sweet potato with a fork and place on a foil-lined sheet. Place in the oven and cook until tender, about 1 hour.

Leaving the oven on, remove the sweet potato and slice in half, lengthwise. Scoop out 1/2 cup of flesh, reserving the rest for another use.

Mix together the flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, and chipotle powder. Cut the stick of butter into pieces, and work into the flour mixture with your hands or a pastry blender until it resembles pea-sized crumbs. Stir in the 1/2 cup of cooked sweet potato and the buttermilk, mixing until a bit loose and sticky.

Pour dough out on a floured surface, and knead for a minute. The dough will be smooth but a bit wetter than regular biscuit dough, so you can sprinkle more flour on the surface if you find it’s sticking too much. Take the dough into a ball, and hit it with a rolling pin, turning it and folding it in half every few whacks. Do this for a couple of minutes. Roll out dough until it’s a quarter of an inch thick and then fold it in half.

Using a round cutter (can use a glass or a cup if don’t have a biscuit cutter) cut out your biscuits from folded dough. Place on a greased baking sheet or in a cast-iron skillet close together (so they rise up not out) and bake for 15 minutes or until the tops are golden brown.

While the biscuits are baking, make the chorizo gravy. Warm the oil in a skillet on medium heat, and cook the chorizo until browned. With a slotted spatula, remove chorizo from the skillet and place on a plate. Drain the oil from the pan reserving 2 tablespoons in the skillet.

Combine the oil in the pan with the flour in a hot skillet and while continuously stirring cook on medium low for a couple of minutes until a roux is formed. Add milk slowly to skillet and mix with the roux using either a whisk or wooden spoon (be sure and press out any lumps). Turn heat to low and continue stirring until mixture is thickened, a couple more minutes.


Stir in the chorizo and cilantro, and add salt, black pepper, and chipotle powder to taste. If gravy is too thick for your taste, you can thin it by adding either more milk or water a tablespoon at a time.

To assemble the biscuits and gravy, slice each biscuit in half and drizzle with gravy.


Yield:
4 to 6 servings

Author:


HOMESICKTEXAN.COM
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57 comments:

squirrelbread said...

Well those biscuits just sound amazing, and drenched in cream gravy, watch out for my fiancée! Love that you're into the Foodways Alliance for Texas. We'll be traveling up from North Padre Island to Austin in a couple weeks -- any recommendations? Must sees/eats?

Cheers,

*Heather*

Kitty (My Husband Hates Veggies) said...

I dog eared a sweet potato biscuit recipe from this month's bon appetit...thought it would be yet another sneaky veggie for my husband. Smothering it in sausage gravy might improve my chances...

Kathi said...

Lisa - you're killing me. I am literally flying back from College Station home to Michigan the day before the fundraiser next week - wish I was going to be around 1 more day...I'd definitely go!

Regards - Kathi

Kelly @ EvilShenanigans said...

LOVE that you founded Foodways Texas! I suppose I will have to become a member ... since I am from Texas and dedicated to Texas food! What a wonderful thing to do! Also ... I could love off that gravy. Oh my!

lisa is cooking said...

Love the color of the biscuits, and I'm guessing they're as tender as can be.

I'm looking forward to hearing more from Foodways Texas.

Mary B. said...

This sounds yummy! I do have a question about the recipe instructions - Do I add the 1/2 cup of potato with the liquid? Also, does the potato need to cool before adding it? Thanks!

Brian said...

First I love the blog! And this recipe looks amazing.

But I have read the recipe several times and may be a bit confused, when is the sweet potato added to the dough? Maybe somebody can help me.

Brian

lela said...

I made your regular biscuits this morning for my husband's birthday breakfast in bread, smothered in bacon gravy. I need to find an excuse to make these now!

I also made your tortillas (to go with tacos) when I was in China a few weeks ago for an American family needing some Tex Mex. Good, good stuff!

Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...

Squirrelbread--In San Antonio, I'd visit the Pearl Brewery, which has restaurants and shops. I'm also a fan of La Fogata and Mi Tierra. In Austin, I enjoy Hoover's, Lambert's, Tacodeli, La Perla, Magnolia Cafe, Jo's, Guerro's and Angie's. You should also make a side trip to Lockhart for BBQ at Smitty's and Kreuz. What a great trip! Have fun!

Kitty--I think smothering anything in sausage gravy improves its chances!

Kathi--Oh, no! Sorry you'll miss the event but enjoy your time back home!

Kelly--You should definitely join!

Lisa--We'll keep you posted!

Mary B.--Yes, I fixed my instructions. My apologies!

Brian--I fixed the recipe--you add the sweet potato with the buttermilk. Cheers!

Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...

Lela--I bet that family in China sure did appreciate your cooking for them!

DessertForTwo said...

Foodways Texas sounds like heaven! I can't wait to join! :)

squirrelbread said...

Thanks so much, Lisa! We'll check into those.

*Heather*

pennydelossantos said...

Those biscuits with the gravy poured over look so good. I nominate you to make those for breakfast during the first Texas Foodways Symposium in Galveston.
I'll be the first in line.
Great post!

Celeste said...

I'm seriously jonesin' to try those biscuits...I wonder if I could interest the inlaws in a batch of them over Thanksgiving....hmmmm.

But can I just say OH WOW about your venture!!!!! Can people from the middle join? ;o)

Can I offer an idea? I'd love to see a segment where you ask Texas singers about a food memory of theirs from the area where they grew up. My favorites that come to mind are Nanci Griffith, Lyle Lovett, Sarah Hickman, and George Strait. All of them are such gifted storytellers and I think it would just be really cool to merge food and music that way. Just thinking out loud here, for the pipeline. I just know this is really going to take off!

Emily said...

There is just something about the combination of sweet potatoes, chipolte and cream. My mom does a Thanksgiving casarole using those flavors, and just reading this recipe reminded me of how good the sweet smokey earthy creamy spicey flavors meld. Mmmmm.
I love the announcement, too. Texas Foodways. Yum!

Jessica @ bake me away! said...

Ah! I'm in SA and am a fan of the Pearl farmer's market on facebook, so I saw the ad for the event on Saturday! Small world... Wish I could go, but have plans to go up to Austin in the morning for the Gypsy Picnic (food truck fest). :)

Those biscuits look amazing!

SweetSavoryPlanet said...

I don't do biscuits often but these look darn good. I am with you on Texas is part of the south. There are many similarities, but there are differences like the Mexican influence. The gravy and biscuits are definitely southern.

{Clockwork Lemon} said...

Texas has such interesting food! I barely ever have biscuits, never mind awesomely flavoured ones like those!

The Fashionable Traveler said...

Thank you for this recipe! I had breakfast at the Taos Inn in Taos New Mexico, a few weeks ago. I had their vegetarian version of eggs benedict. "The Kit Carson"
Yam Biscuit with poached eggs, and "Christmas Sauce" I can't wait to make the sweet potato biscuits during the holidays.

Lea Ann said...

What a wonderful looking plate of food. You'll find this on my table this weeked. You've got a wonderful blog and I love your writing style and of course the food is great. I made your cheesy hominy cassarole for a Bronco Game Party and everyone had a f-i-t. Great recipe. I'll be heading over to the Foodways site.

Kelly@TheMeaningofPie said...

I'm excited about Foodways Texas. It is a good thing to get going before too many of our TX grandmas' recipe cards brown, tear, get spilled on, and otherwise fade into oblivion. Here's looking forward to some events in Dallas! I'm on my way to check out the website.

Claire said...

Reading over the recipe - can you tell me when the sweet potatoes go into the dough? Can't wait to try these! Thanks -

Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...

DessertForTwo--It should be fun!

Squirrelbread--You're welcome!

Penny--Hmmmmm, I've never cooked for a crowd but that could be fun!

Celeste--Please do join us! You certainly don't have to be Texan, just someone who appreciates Texan food! And that's a great, great idea about the singers.

Emily--I agree--chipotle and sweet potatoes are two of my favorite things together.

Jessica--Gypsy Picnic sounds like a blast!

SweetSavoryPlanet--Yep, Texas is its own thing.

Clockwork Lemon--You should have biscuits more often!

The Fashionable Traveler--That Kit Carson sounds wonderful!

Lea Ann--You mix it in with the buttermilk.

~Molly~ said...

I woke up craving biscuits and gravy this morning!! One of my favorite meals that both of my Oklahoma grannies made. Your biscuits sound divine but I'm not too sure about the gravy. Is it a "far cry" in taste from regular sausage gravy? Maybe its the cilantro throwing me off but I'm not a huge fan of chorizo either. Maybe I'll try it with regular gravy first, lol.

Twi said...

There is a southern casual restaurant here in the DC area...and the best thing on their menu us their sweet potato biscuits. I love them with the hot pepper peach jam.

Kimberly said...

Oh my stars...

This sounds SO good!

It's probably b/c I'm preggo, but biscuits and gravy is the ultimate comfort food, especially for me these days.

Kristy said...

I wonder if I could get my husband to eat these. He says he doesn't like sweet potatoes, but maybe in biscuits, and covered with that chorizo gravy...I'll have to try it.

That sounds like a fantastic venture! Texas might be in the southern part of the country, but it's definitely all its own place.

And whoop! for A&M's involvement. Kinda makes me proud of my alma mater. :)

Heather @ chiknpastry said...

I LOVE biscuits, and have always wanted to find a good, solid sweet potato biscuit recipe. i made one out of baking book (i don't recall which one, but one of the big bread ones) and it was flat and gross - I'm gonna give these a try though, and the chorizo gravy sounds just scrumptious alongside :).

Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...

Molly--If you don't like chorizo, you probably wouldn't like it in the gravy so why not just use regular breakfast sausage instead? I don't think the dish would suffer!

Twi--Oh, I love the sound of hot pepper peach jam!

Kimerly--I don't think you have to be pregnant to find biscuits and gravy the ultimate in comfort foods!

Kristy--Honestly, you hardly notice the sweet potatoes are there. Their contribution is more color and texture rather than flavor.

Heather--I find these sweet potato biscuits are tender and soft and I hope you do, too!

Katie@Cozydelicious said...

I'm honestly not usually a fan of biscuits and gravy. But there is so much flavor in this version! The sweet potato, the chorizo... yum! This, I believe, I would love!

UrMomCooks said...

All I can say is YUM! I just discovered sweet potato biscuits last fall and they are now a highly requested item during sweet potato season! (which fortunately goes on forever in TX!!!) For a quick fix, try some honey cinnamon butter on 'em too...

johnbeene said...

Lisa this is just a brilliant idea! Why didn't I think of this? Thanks so much for sharing another beautiful recipe!

Michael said...

Would this work with pumpkin substituted for the sweet potato?

Rocky Mountain Woman said...

Wow! I seriously can't wait to try those sweet potato biscuits.. and anything with chorizo gets my attention...

Tasty Eats At Home said...

I adore your creativity. It's like these were something we all ought to have grown up eating - they really speak to me. Yum.

Steff @ The Kitchen Trials said...

Thank you for sharing your sweet potato biscuit recipe. I've tried a couple, but haven't had much luck yet with getting 'em right.

Also, I'm excited to learn about Foodways Texas. Next stop: checking out the membership info. =)

Lauren said...

Squirrelbread--As a native of San Antonio and current homesick Texan living in the Midwest, I'd have to recommend Rosario's as one of the best restaurants in San Antonio. El Jarro de Arturo is another great option, though it's not in as picturesque an area of San Antonio. Or try Chacho's on Callaghan Road--it can get pretty busy, but for a reason. They dole out enormous portions of crazy-good Tex-Mex for outrageously reasonable prices. It's pretty fantastic.

Megan said...

Oh, sweet potato biscuits sound like a dream. I just made pumpkin ones twice in one week! Time to give these guys a go.

Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...

Katie--I hope you do love it!

UrMomCooks-That honey cinnamon butter sounds perfect for these!

JohnBeene--You're very welcome.

Michael--I reckon it would--I'd do an even swap. And if you try it that way, please let us know what you think!

Rocky Mountain Woman--I'm with you about chorizo!

Tasty Eats At Home--Yes! They should be a new tradition!

Steff--Hope these work out better for you. And I think you'd fit right in with the work we're doing at Foodways Texas!

Lauren--These are great suggestions! Gracias!

Megan--Now I need to try pumpkin ones!

maxine said...

A grassroots effort that's $150 per person? I will be curious to see how this does and if it can thrive at that pricepoint.

Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...

Maxine--That's the cost of a fund-raising dinner. There was also free event in SA last weekend as well. Membership begins at $50 for students, I believe--not everything is $150!

Amy said...

This is cruel. You are making my mouth water and stomach growl. It's amazing what you do with words and pictures. Keep it up!

Heidi said...

I miss good old southern food. Especially good biscuits, which I haven't been able to find anywhere north of the Mason Dixon (believe it or not, even when I was in NYC...nothing). Now I live in Minnesota, where the food is not as bad as one might think. It's a cultural mishmash... which makes for very interesting eating. I just saw a crazy video on www.perennialplate.com highlighting squirrel meat (a traditional Hmong dish)...actually looked pretty good (except for the hunting part).

Amy said...

This recipe (who am I kidding? EVERY RECIPE on this site) looks amazing. I love reading your blog, as we both grew up in Houston and lived in Austin at some point. I find myself reading and thinking "I TOTALLY LOVE THAT FOOD!"

Anyway, I know you've said before that you're not the biggest fan of okra, but as I know you like things fried, why no recipe for fried okra? Haven't found a suitable one yet, or don't care for it?

I'm salivating right now just thinking about it....

sweetlife said...

Love the concept of Foodways, I think Texas should be celebrated in every way!! I can't wait to join...I wish I would have clicked over here earlier, i would have loved to made the San Antonio event..I currently live in Edinburg, Texas and feature Texas-Mexican recipes, Texas has great history and it's great to know you are helping to spread the word.
sweetlife

Leeann said...

Made this for dinner and it was amazing! I'm not normally a fan of the ubiqutous biscuits and gravy dish, but was feeling homesick and thought I'd subject my sweetie to something new.

The spice and the sweet potato combo
really made this amazing, even without the chorizo (too pricy in Germany). Subbed a chili sausage and still turned out awesome.

Melanie Flinn said...

Just stumbled across your blog. These look delicious. In fact. now I am starving just by looking a them!! I am from SA and went to school in Austin, now living in Hawaii. I love all things Texas!!. ;)

Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...

Amy--I don't mean to be cruel!

Heidi--I have friends that do all sorts of things with squirrel, though I've never tried it myself.

Amy--Thank you! I have this okra recipe, but it's not quite the same, I know.

Sweetlife--We should have an event in the Valley--one of our board members is Melissa Guerra and she lives down there.

Leeann--I love your substitution and so happy you were able to feel closer to home while in Germany!

Melane Finn--It's very nice to meet you!

Annie @ButteryBooks said...

Oh my goodness! Those sweet potato biscuits and chorizo gravy look to divine! I love your blog and your fabulous recipes!

Lizzy said...

Oh my goodness,it never even came to me that a biscuit is possible with sweet potatoes..I had so many just thrown away last week cause I didn't find anything good to make out of them..

Shasta said...

Hi, Lisa- Love your site! Yours is the very first food blog I ever read, quite some time ago, but I still haven't gotten up the nerve to start my own(procrastinators unite - we'll start tomorrow!)!!
Did you take the photo in your post? It's the Neon Spur, a local favorite outdoor music venue, owned by some friends here in Wichita Falls. The Spur used to serve really good barbecue, too, but stopped having food a coupla years ago.
I gotta try those yummy biscuits! I'm a lover of all things sweet potato!
I'm pretty jazzed about the Texas Foodways endeavor - thanks for helping to spearhead it! I'm heading over to the site!

Daphne said...

These biscuits were amazing... and the gravy... heaven! And, I made the gravy with junky chorizo... the only chorizo I can find in my small mid-western town. I can't wait to try it again... but with REAL chorizo. This homesick Texans thanks you for another fantastic recipe.

Cute Banana said...

Lisa, these look outstanding, outstanding. Sweet potatoes have been that good-for-you-candy of mine for yeeeeaaars, and I'm always jazzed to find a new way to prepare them! I wonder, though, how big my one sweet potato oughta be for this recipe? Over the years of my love for this tuber, I have seen some SPs half the size of my palm, others half the size of my head... big discrepancy! Thanks for offering clarification :)

Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...

Cute Banana--I'd say one that's 1/2 a pound or so--you'll need one big enough to yield 1/2 cup of cooked sweet potato, basically.

Tempie said...

This recipe sounds delicious! As a Texas girl myself, I love all of the flavors in this recipe.

Jason said...

When I saw this recipe I knew what I was making for breakfast Christmas morning. I had 38lbs of pork sausage made from a wild boar I shot and this was the perfect recipe to start the cooking with. There were a bunch of people at the house on Christmas morning so I had to make a double batch but it was all gone in no time. To a person, they all said the biscuits were fantastic. And sausage gravy is always great. The combo was off the charts good. I'm going to use the hot and spicy sausage next time.

Miyan said...

your blog is great. im from texas as well, dallas to be exact- but living in Israel. my borther is a fish a Texas A&M =) I will be back to read more of your yummy recipes, its nice to get a taste of "home."

Miyan

www.miyan-overseas.blogspot.com

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