Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Butternut Sage Biscuits & Gravy

Sweet butternut squash in a savory sage biscuit. Hello, fall, and welcome to my Thanksgiving table. Top it with the best gravy I've had in my life, and now we're talking. Vegan gravy? Yep, and it knocks the socks off it's non-vegan competitors I have had in the past. It is simple, healthy, and heart warningly delicious. Top these biscuits with butter if that's your thing, and maybe pour this gravy over your entree, such as my favorite lentil loaf. Any way you can, get these flavors on your plate. 

The gravy is simply simmering some cooked navy beans with broth, onion, garlic, seasoning and a bay leaf. Then blending it to creamy perfection in your blender. 

The biscuits are made with hearty, whole spelt flour and seasoned simply with sage and roasted butternut squash puree. They were inspired by these biscuits I had spotted a bit ago. 

Yields about 3 cups of gravy and 5 jumbo biscuits. 

1/2 cup dry navy beans or 1 1/2 cups cooked
2 1/2 to 3 cups vegetable broth
2 teaspoons pink salt or to taste
1/3 cup yellow onion roughly chopped
3 cloves of garlic roughly chopped
1 bay leaf

1/4 cup almond milk
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 cups whole spelt flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon fresh sage finely chopped
1/2 cup butternut squash puree fresh or canned
1 tablespoon vegan butter softened

For the gravy, if using dry beans, begin by soaking them for 24 hours in a bowl covered in water. Rinse and drain, and transfer to a pot on your stove filled with 3 cups of water. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, cover, and simmer for an hour to an hour and a half (or until fully cooked). 

Rinse and drain your cooked beans (whether fresh or canned) and transfer to a medium size pot on your stove. Cover with brother and add onion, garlic, salt, and the bay leaf. Bring to a simmer and let cook for 20-25 minutes uncovered. 

Discard the bay leaf, and blend the mixture in a glass blender (let cool before blending in a plastic one). Add any additional veggie broth at this time to thin out to your desired consistency. I did not add any because I like my gravy thick.

For the biscuits, combine the almond milk and apple cider vinegar in a small dish and set aside to curdle while you assemble the rest of the dough. In a mixing bowl, combine the dry ingredients and mix well. Create a well in the center of your flour mixture and add the butternut squash, butter, and curdled almond milk to it. Mix well with a spoon until the dough comes together and is well mixed and sticky. Do not over mix (a minute or two should do the trick). 

You can either preheat your oven to 400F at this point, or do as I did and heat a 10 inch cast iron skillet on low heat on your stove (I would have baked them but I had an apple pie in the oven at the time set to a different temperature so I got creative and they turned out awesome). 

Press your dough out with your fingers on a lightly floured work surface and use whatever circular device you'd like to cut out five jumbo biscuits. 

Bake them in the oven for 10-12 minutes on a parchment lined baking sheet or in a greased pie dish. 

If doing the cast iron method, add some vegan butter or olive oil to your cast iron pan, add the biscuits, and cover with a lid. Cook on low for 7-8 minutes on each side, adding a little more butter or oil to the pan when you flip them half way through. 

Biscuits are best eaten right away or that day. Once gravy has cooled it will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. 

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