Biscuits and gravy are like the ultimate comfort food… just like the last recipe (pyttipanna) is perfect for cozying up in a wintery Swedish cabin, biscuits and gravy are like its American sibling.
Which is why at one point last year when the cold, dark, long winter was really getting to me, and I was feeling a bit homesick (and had a big paper due, so was stuck inside most days), I decided to make some biscuits and gravy (for dinner… because why not have breakfast for dinner!). Of course, this was before the food blog, but I still posted a picture on my personal Instagram because hey, I was proud of my creation!
Well for a week or two after that picture, every non-American I met with would ask me with such a puzzled look, “What exactly is it you made to eat? Is it cookies and gravy?” This question earned an equally puzzling look in return from me, until I realized that in the UK, and then by default many European countries, biscuits = cookies. I laughed about this confusion for a long time (I maybe even chuckled a bit just now while writing this) because of course it would sound strange to eat cookies with meat gravy…
Another American in our program then described American biscuits as “a savory scone”… Once people heard this description of a biscuit, the meal made a little more sense (although they still had some reservations about a scone with gravy, but it was a bit better idea at least!). To this day I wonder how many of my non-American friends on Instagram still think that I ate cookies with gravy…
There have been a few other American food “misunderstandings” during my time here. Coming from the US I often find that people already know about most of our typical foods because of Hollywood and popular American TV shows. Which is why it is extra surprising to me when people haven’t heard of something SO common in the US…. like rice krispy treats! I think if you asked 100 people in the US if they knew what a rice krispy treat was, you would get 100 “yes” answers. The funny thing is, I have not met ONE person in Sweden (who is not North-American) who knows about this incredibly common American dessert. When a Canadian friend brought some rice krispies to a potluck, everyone was very confused… “Is it savory or sweet? How do I eat it?” The best part was when my friend from China decided to eat it with chopsticks… hey, there really are no rules about how to eat a rice krispy!
Another common misunderstanding is Apple Pie (again, probably one of the most America dishes you can make). Now, most people in Sweden know what American Apple Pie is, what it should look like, etc., but Swedish Apple Pie is very different… think a dense cake with slices of apples on top, different than the American version which has a flaky crust and a more gooey apple filling. I have to say, I really like both versions…but they are different. So if you’re craving one and get the other, it can be a bit of a disappointing experience… which is exactly what happened to me at an American burger restaurant in Stockholm. Since it was all American style food and seemed pretty authentic, I naturally assumed the Apple Pie on the menu was also authentically American… alas, I was wrong and ended up with Swedish Apple Pie (cake). On the bright side, I still got a delicious dessert out of it…
This idea of Swedish apple pie versus American apple pie was even an analogy some classmates and I used in our class, to show that we have to be aware of cultural or personal differences in how people might look at the same issue… that these perspectives are not right or wrong, just different, and it is important to value and respect these differences.
So to circle back to the original story… I have now made biscuits and gravy for this food blog to hopefully inspire some of those classmates, who were originally a bit put-off by the idea, to give it a try! I promise it will become a favorite brunch meal…
Now, classically I think biscuits and gravy uses sausage… but one of my favorite brunch places in Seattle area, called The Commons, had the BEST biscuits and gravy made with chicken! When I was living in Seattle-area, my girlfriend and I would do a tri-yearly wine tasting day (and I mean a FULL day), which would always start at The Commons for a filling brunch before walking between all the local wineries in the area… so this particular biscuits and gravy has special memories for me :).
I actually think the chicken in the gravy is better than sausage, especially when it is flavored well with lots of fresh sage… usually I make most of my recipes for this blog multiple times, but my husband and I both felt this gravy was PERFECT the first round through. So creamy and flavorful… YUM!
I also wanted to add some flavor into the biscuits, since they can be a bit plain sometimes. I didn’t want to go overboard with the sage, so I decided to use a different fresh herb… thyme! We had some thyme leftover from making the pyttipanna, and it really was a great flavor combination with the sage from the gravy. There is also a secret ingredient in these biscuits… Greek yogurt! The biscuits turned out so flaky and soft (and bonus, they’re actually not too difficult to make).
For a quick side-dish, I decided to make some scrambled eggs with spinach… it really paired well with the biscuits and gravy (plus it gets you some greens on the plate!). Nothing too complicated here, so I decided not to include it in the recipe… basically just scramble up some eggs, then add fresh spinach half way through the cooking, and you’re done!
Overall it was a pretty successful breakfast, so I am excited to share this with you! I hope you get to enjoy this savory breakfast (or breakfast for dinner, anyone?) and feel as much comfort as I get from this dish.
Thyme Biscuits and Sage-Chicken Gravy
- Biscuit Dough:
- 6 tablespoons butter / 85g smör
- 2 cups flour / vetemjöl
- ½ teaspoon salt / salt
- 1 tablespoon baking powder / bakpulver
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda / natriumbikarbonat
- ½ teaspoon thyme / timjan
- ½ cup milk / 1.2 dl mjölk
- ¾ cup greek yogurt / 1.75 dl grekisk yoghurt Gravy:
- 1 tablespoon butter / 15g smör
- 1 pound ground chicken / 500g kykling färs
- 3 tablespoons flour / vetemjöl
- ¾ cup milk / 1.75 dl mjölk
- 5 sage leaves / salvia
- 1 teaspoon salt / salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper / svartpeppar
- Preheat the oven to 450° F / 230° C.
- Place butter for the biscuits in the freezer for at least 10 minutes.
- Mix dry dough ingredients together in a bowl.
- After the butter is frozen, use a cheese grater to grate the butter into the dry ingredients, stirring a few times between.
- Quickly add the cold milk and Greek yogurt to the mixture and stir until combined.
- Roll out the dough on a floured surface until it is in a rectangle shape and about ½ inch / 1.25 cm thick.
- Fold the dough in half length-wise once, then width-wise once.
- Flatten the dough again until about 1 inch / 2.5 cm thick
- Cut the dough into 3 inch / 7.5 cm diameter circles, trying not to twist when pushing down.
- You can reshape the left-over dough once (maybe twice) but should work quickly so that the dough doesn’t get too warm.
- Bake the biscuits on a lined sheet for 10 – 12 minutes.
- While the dough is baking, start making the gravy by melting the butter in a saucepan on medium-high heat and then frying two sage leaves for 1-2 minutes.
- Remove the sage leaves (you can save them for decoration if you want).
- Fry the ground chicken in the sage-butter, adding in salt, pepper, and the extra three sage leaves (cut into small pieces) about half way through.
- Once the chicken is cooked through, sprinkle the 3 tablespoons of flour over the mixture and stir for 1-2 minutes.
- Slowly add the milk, ½ cup (1 dl) at a time, stirring each time until the gravy thickens before adding more milk.
- At this point, the gravy and the biscuits should be done – serve 2 biscuits with a scoop of gravy, and enjoy!