By Ginna Parsons/NEMS Daily Journal
I had the pleasure of spending a few days last week in Knoxville, Tenn., at the Southern Food Writing Conference, which was wrapped into the International Biscuit Festival.
I got to rub shoulders with professionals and amateurs alike, and ate some of the most amazing food out there.
Over the course of the four days I was in Knoxville, I’d venture to guess I consumed not fewer than a dozen biscuits. We had biscuits made with buttermilk, biscuits with Cheddar and bacon, biscuits made with cream, biscuits made with herbs, biscuits with country ham and biscuits topped with apple butter and pear chutney.
Some biscuits were the size of half-dollars and others were as big as Moon Pies. Some were flaky, some were doughy and some were crispy on the edges.
I told my husband when I got home Saturday that I didn’t want to see another biscuit for quite some time. And then what did I do Sunday? I asked him to make some biscuits to go with the pan-fried chicken strips, butterbeans and brown rice we were having for supper.
I came away from the conference with probably 30 or more biscuit recipes, and some of those I’ll even try. One that struck me as interesting came from one of our speakers, Chef Regina Charboneau of Natchez, whose biscuits are legendary all over the world. She even ships them out to special customers, like The Rolling Stones.
Apparently, they’re that good.
Regina’s Butter Biscuits
4 cups all-purpose flour
1⁄4 cup baking powder
1⁄4 cup sugar
1 stick salted butter
3 sticks salted margarine
13⁄4 cups buttermilk (not lowfat)
In a metal mixing bowl combine flour, baking powder and sugar. Blend with wire whisk. Cut margarine and butter into small cubes about 1⁄2-inch thick. Using a pastry cutter or a fork, combine butter and margarine with dry ingredients until mixture resembles corn meal.
Add buttermilk and mix into a dough. Do not over mix. There should be visible pieces of butter and margarine, which is what makes these biscuits flaky.
Flour a work space and roll dough out to 3⁄4-inch thick. Fold dough and roll again. Repeat this process two to three times until you have a smooth dough. The dough will be speckled with butter and margarine. Cut into rounds. Bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes or until golden brown.
Makes 2 dozen large or 3 dozen small biscuits.
Ginna Parsons is the Daily Journal’s food/home/garden editor.