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Cheddar Drop Biscuits with Cajun Tomato Gravy Recipes

Now that fall is upon us (wishful thinking down here in New Orleans), I’ve decided it’s time to start focusing more on comfort food recipes – like cheddar cheese drop biscuits! WITH Cajun tomato gravy. The timing for this recipe was inspired by the monthly #TwelveLoaves challenge. Earlier this month I found out about the #TwelveLoaves challenge from Barb at Creative Culinary.

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Click on the logo to learn more about the Twelve loaves challenge!

Barb, along with Lora at the Cake Duchess and Jamie at Life’s a Feast do a monthly bread theme and encourage other bloggers to participate. The challenge is inspired by a love of baking and making baked goods from scratch rather than purchasing them pre-made. The September theme is cheese bread. I’d been just looking for a reason to post a cheese biscuit recipe and this was it!

Let’s first take a look at biscuits. While it’s very easy to buy pre-made biscuits, it’s actually pretty easy to make them from scratch, and they are infinitely better tasting than the canned variety. Homemade biscuits fall into two main categories: rolled and dropped. Admittedly, rolled biscuits require a bit more skill, time and patience. Drop biscuits are the easier, fluffier variety. The dough for drop biscuits is stickier because it only needs to be mixed and “dropped” whereas rolled biscuits must be mixed, rolled, cut and then put onto the baking sheet.

Unless the rolled biscuits are made by someone who REALLY knows what they are doing, biscuits of the “dropped” variety will be what most home cooks are looking for – large and fluffy biscuits. I really like the biscuit recipe I’ve developed below. It’s based on a recipe that I modified a long time ago from a very old Farm Journal cookbook called “Homemade Bread.” The copyright on my book is from 1969. It was passed down from my grandma to my mom to my sister to me. A true family heirloom!

Cheddar Biscuits with Cajun Tomato Gravy

Cheddar Biscuits with Cajun Tomato Gravy

Now let’s take a closer look at Cajun tomato gravy. Many (well, most) of you are probably wondering just what that is. Tomato gravy is a very simple dish from Cajun culture that people used to make to accompany their breakfast biscuits. As with most Cajun dishes, there are about as many versions of tomato gravy as there are people who cook them. I fashioned this recipe from what I can remember my grandma’s tomato gravy recipe being like.

As you can see below I made mine using vegetable oil and garlic. Cajun dishes rarely used garlic back in the day and would most definitely have used lard or bacon grease for this gravy if they had it on hand. This is a “healthier” version but feel free to use bacon fat or lard if you have it. The dish will be that much better. Also, I’m not sure if my grandma’s recipe used onions but I sure do like them so I added them in. As you’ll see, the gravy is puréed at the end so the mixture ends up being homogenous, despite what’s put into it.

The secret to the consistency of this gravy is a good roux. Surprised? Probably not. Roux is the basis of many rich and tasty Cajun dishes (see: gumbo, shrimp stew, étouffée, sauce piquant, and on and on). You may also notice that this means double starch in the meal. That’s also very typical of Cajun cooking. We’ll eat our gumbo over rice with french bread and potato salad – quadruple starch, technically! Truly, live to eat!

So we’ve determined this recipe is not for the faint of heart. Or for those trying to avoid carbs. You’ve just got to fully embrace the carbs on this one. Have you noticed most comfort foods are heavily carb based? I recently have. Anyway, let’s get on to the recipes for Carb Fest 2012.

Before you start:  Pre-heat your oven to 425 degrees F. Also, you’ll want to tackle the gravy first since the biscuits will only need 14 minutes to cook. Once you put the gravy on to simmer, you can get started on the biscuits. The best idea would be to measure out all of your ingredients before starting either dish. This will make your work much easier once you really start.

Tips (for both recipes):

  • Biscuits will keep unrefrigerated for up to 3 days in an air tight container.
  • Try not to over mix the biscuits – the gluten will toughen as you mix. Be deliberate but careful when you are stirring the milk in.
  • The gravy will keep up to a week in an air tight container. You may need to thin the gravy with water when you re-heat it.
  • If you don’t have an immersion blender and don’t mind the onion bits, you can always use tomato sauce for this recipe and will still get good results. I suggest chopping the onions and garlic more finely if you are not going to purée the dish.
Yield: 4 servings

Cheddar Drop Biscuits with Cajun Tomato Gravy

Easy and tasty recipe for cheddar cheese drop biscuits along with a recipe for Cajun tomato gravy. These two make a delicious and satisfying breakfast!

Ingredients:

Cajun Tomato Gravy:

  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 onion, roughly diced
  • 2 tablespoons roughly chopped garlic
  • 1-28 ounce can of whole tomatoes
  • 1 cup water

Cheddar Cheese Drop Biscuits:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 cup shortening (such as Crisco)
  • 1/2 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • 2 tablespoons finely sliced green onions
  • 1 cup whole milk

Method:

Preheat the oven to 425 ºF.

Cajun Tomato Gravy:

  1. Over medium high flame add the vegetable oil and flour to a soup-sized pot.
  2. Using a wire whisk,stir constantly for 5-6 minutes, until the roux is the color of light peanut butter.
  3. Add the onion and salt and cook for about 10 minutes, until onions are translucent and wilted.
  4. Add the garlic and stir until fragrant,about one minute.
  5. Add the water and can of tomatoes.
  6. Cook another 10 minutes, this time covering the pot and setting the flame to low. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking.
  7. When gravy is done, use an immersion blender to puree the gravy to a smooth consistency. If you find the gravy to be too thick, use more water to thin to your preferred consistency.

Cheddar Cheese Drop Biscuits:

  1. In a large bowl, add the first five ingredients (dry ingredients). Mix well with a whisk.
  2. Cut the shortening in to the mixture with your hands or a pastry cutter until shortening is dispersed throughout the flour mixture.
  3. Add the cheese and green onion – stir briefly to combine.
  4. Lightly stir in the milk just until the mixture comes together.
  5. Drop biscuits onto an air insulated baking sheet lined with a Silpat or baking parchment paper.
  6. Bake for 14 minutes.
  7. When done, serve immediately with a side of gravy or be a hero and just pour the gravy all over the biscuits and eat with a fork and knife!  Enjoy!

Prep:20 min

Cook:25 min

Total:45 min

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  • Beth

    Quadruple starch – I love it! Any kind of cheese bread is a winner with me.

    • Thanks, Beth. 🙂 We really love our starches around here!

  • Lora @cakeduchess

    I know how you feel about it not really being like fall yet. Same here in Florida;)It isn’t that hard to make homemade biscuits and the flavor is so much better (in my humble opinion). Love your lighter Cajun version. So fabulous I’d love a couple for lunch now;)Thanks for baking along with us for Twelve Loaves:)

    • Happy to join in! I’m glad I found your group. 🙂 Glad you like the recipe too!

  • Cookin’ Canuck

    Oh my, this really does sound like the ultimate comfort food. And I’m intrigued by the cajun tomato gravy.

    • Thanks, Dara. Let me know if you end up making it. Also, I made a bean dip this weekend with sun-dried tomatoes and cannellini beans. YUM 🙂

  • Jenni Ward

    Great job! These biscuits look great, especially with the gravy! YUM!

    • Thanks, Jenni! I’ve had a few people make them and they loved them too. Thanks for visiting! 🙂