I HATE THE GROUNDHOG!

See how fat he is?  Probably take two skillets
See how fat he is? Probably take two skillets

I hate that varmit.  Seriously.  I Just learned (click here for story) that Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow, which according to legend frightened him and sent him scurrying back into his hole.  Somehow this inexplicable chain of events is responsible for six more weeks of winter.

I’m sick of winter, and say we should do something about this meteorological hegemony and bring the tyrant down?  We need to go all Bill Murray all over that beast.  Who is with me?

The logical question comes next.  What do we do with the groundhog.  Well, I say we eat him!  I have some suggestions.

"I Got You Babe"
“I Got You Babe”

Groundhogs are not very big, so we could make a mulligan stew out of him.  Think of how good a nice groundhog stew would taste–carrots, potatoes, onions, a little Worcestershire sauce for flavor, maybe some Tabasco sauce, a little garlic–all simmered together to enjoy when it gets bitter cold outside.  Nothing is as tasty as stew when it is cold, and nothing tastes as good as sweet ironic revenge.

If the groundhog is wrong, which, by the way, he often is, then the weather might actually get warmer.  That doesn’t mean we give him a reprieve.  His reign of terror must end.  But if warm weather comes early, I say we roast him on a spit out by the lake, while wearing flip flops, sunglasses, funny beach hats, and sunscreen.

If none of that is to your liking, then let’s keep it simple.  Deep fried groundhog might become a national delicacy if we can get the right marketing plan.  Just looking at how fat Punxsutawney Phil is, I would say it is slightly meatier than a chicken, but we could probably butcher him the same way–except we’d have four legs instead of two.  Then we’d soak him in buttermilk all night, batter him up, then get the grease hot.  How hard could it be?  We’d serve him with gravy and biscuits.

I’ve got other ideas.  Maybe groundhog ice cream for dessert?  Groundhog pie perhaps, like a spicey mincemeat.  Groundhog tacos might taste a little like goat, maybe?

Whatever we do, the groundhog needs to die and winter must end.

images from whnt.com and blog.indiewire.com

WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT BISCUITS

As you know, biscuits are serious.  I’ve detailed before the foundational recipe for buttermilk biscuits.  However, as a biscuit artist, I am always experimenting.  Recently I made the most delicious biscuits I’ve ever–EVER–eaten.

Start with the basics.

  • Preheat over to 425°.
  • Put self-rising flour in a bowl.  The amount will vary based on the number of biscuits you want, but maybe start with three cups.
  • Add 2 teaspoons of baking powder
  • Add Crisco shortening with your hands until it starts to bead.

Now, liven it up.

  • Add a half a stick of butter.
  • Add a half of a cup of Miracle Whip.  Mayo would work too, but I prefer Miracle Whip.

    Secret Ingredient
    Secret Ingredient
  • Mix the dough well, then add the buttermilk in small doses until the dough forms one large ball and is sticky.
  • Sprinkle a little regular flour down on the counter top (or a roll pad) and then turn the dough over a couple of times until it is no longer sticky.
  • Cut into biscuits using an empty, clean, tuna can.

Now, let’s change up my usual a little bit more.

  • Dab buttermilk on top of the biscuits.
  • If you have time, let the uncooked biscuits sit for an hour.
  • Grease a cast iron skillet with Crisco
  • Put the biscuits into the pan–squeezing them together if necessary.
  • Bake for 20-21 minutes.  Ovens may vary.

I found this batch to be fantastic.  Give it a try.  The key to making great biscuits is to experiment.  I found that the butter made them moister and the Miracle Whip gave them outstanding flavor.

BUTTERMILK BISCUITS

Tonight for dinner I cooked up a great home cooked meal.  It is one of our family favorites.  We had fried chicken, mashed potatoes, gravy, cabbage, and buttermilk biscuits.  I cheated a little in that the fried chicken was strips, not a whole chicken.  It is just so much easier to fry up those yummy strips of breast meat, but usually I cut up a whole chicken because my wife my likes the wings and my daughters prefer legs.  I compensated for this by making the gravy white cream gravy—Mrs. Greenbean’s fave instead of my preference of brown gravy.  The cabbage was the veggie of choice, but it could have been anything . . . even green beans!

 

Several people have asked, in the past, for my buttermilk biscuit recipe so, I though this would be a good time to share it.  There really are only three active ingredients, but I’ve found procedure and order makes a difference.  About three years ago I went through a season when I worked out every possible variation on buttermilk biscuits until I found my preferred method.  Yours may differ.

 

Active Ingredients

self-rising flour, buttermilk, vegetable shortening.

Spices:  salt, pepper, garlic (just a little if you like), and sugar.

 

Procedure

Fill a bowl with self-rising flour.  How much?  Ever how many biscuits you want to make.  Put salt, pepper, (garlic), and sugar into the flour and mix well.  Then cut into the flour the vegetable shortening.  I scoop it out in half teaspoon measures, until I think it is enough.  If you don’t get enough, don’t worry, you can add more.  After putting in the shortening, use hands to work the shortening into the flour.  The flour will eventually “bead” into a coarse powder.  If it doesn’t do this, add more shortening until it does.

Once this is done, slowly add buttermilk.  At first put in about three or four tablespoons.  I never measure this, just eyeball it; but don’t put too much in.  It is better to add more slowly as you work the mixture.

Work it with your hands.  It should begin to “gum” up.  I always work it very dry, slowly adding no more than a tablespoon at a time.  Finally, when it becomes “sticky” I put just a tad bit more buttermilk to get it very sticky.

Put a little bit of dry self-rising flour onto the counter and dump the mixture on it.  Do not work the biscuit mix too much.  Flatten it out, and perhaps double it over a time or two, adding more flour if necessary to keep it from sticking.  Flatten out the biscuit mix.  How flat?  How big do you want your biscuits?

I then use a cleaned out tuna can to cut my biscuits, but you can use anything.  When you’ve cut them out, use the left over mix to make one giant biscuit.  Mrs. Greenbean always gets that one!  One you’re finished, turn the biscuits over, and let them sit on the countertop for at least one hour.  I mean it, at least one hour.  If you bake them immediately they will not rise as high or be as fluffy.

After one hour, preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Then place the biscuits directly onto a pizza stone on the middle rack (my pizza stone never leaves the oven).  Bake for between 12-15 minutes.  Cook time depends upon the oven and, I’ve found, weather.  They will be done when they are slight golden brown on top, but beware, the flour may still be mostly white on top.

Eat while hot.  I always make enough to keep around for a day or two.  Yum.