Biscuits in a Butler’s Pantry - Biscuits: Sweet and Savory Southern Recipes for the All-American Kitchen (2015)

Biscuits: Sweet and Savory Southern Recipes for the All-American Kitchen (2015)

Biscuits in a Butler’s Pantry


Atrend in new home building today is the return of a butler’s pantry with the intended purpose of a food staging area. I’ve never lived in a house with a butler’s pantry. For those who have one, I wonder how many times it’s used for the intended purpose versus a catch-all storage room. Regardless, I love the nostalgia.

Entertaining is as common in our Southern culture as grits. We love to feed people at any time of the day or night. Whether it’s a party, an informal gathering of friends and family, or a visit from a neighbor, we will bang some pots and pans and fix something to eat. The offerings in this chapter can be used for an appetizer, first course, or light meal.

Pigs in a Biscuit Blanket

Supreme Pizza Pull-Apart Bread

Barbequed Country-style Rib Fried Hand Pie

Salmon Chive Patties on Dill Biscuits

Brandied Apricot Jam and Goat Cheese with Tavern Biscuits

Spicy Pimento Cheese Bites

Skillet Toasted Biscuits with Herb Cream Cheese and Country Tomato Relish

Pigs in a Biscuit Blanket

Yield: 75 to 80 pieces

Wrap little beef or pork smoked cocktail sausages in a garlic cheese biscuit blanket and serve it with Jezebel Sauce, a traditional sweet Southern cocktail sauce that gets a kick from horseradish. These pick-ups, traditionally made with crescent rolls dough, are always some of the first to go at party. Impress your guests by dressing them up and adding a new twist.

Making fresh biscuit dough, rolling it out, and cutting strips requires a little more effort than using canned crescent roll dough, but it pays off in spades. Don’t stress over-calculating the dimensions of the dough to get the right amount of strips. The dough is rather forgiving and each strip can be manipulated to result in the size needed to wrap the sausage. Unless you are precise and measure each strip, there will be a little variation in size. I think that is perfectly lovely and has the look of something made by hand. When it comes time to wrap the sausages in dough, recruit anyone you can get your hands on to help wrap all the piggies in their biscuit blankets.

One batch Garlic Cheese Biscuits (see recipe page 45)

2 (13- or 14-ounce) packages fully cooked smoked cocktail sausages

Sesame seeds

Prepare biscuit dough and roll to ¼-inch thick in a rectangle approximately 10 inches by 22 inches. Cut out enough strips, about 1 inch by 2 inches, to wrap each sausage.

Make certain sausages are well drained and dry before wrapping.

Take 1 strip, dip in flour if sticky, and fold in half lengthwise. Then, press the dough, strip out, to 3 inches in length. I used my index finger as a guide. Wrap the sausage with the dough strip, making sure to overlap the dough. Place seam-side down on a baking sheet sprayed with a nonstick spray or covered with a baking mat.

Repeat with remaining dough and sausages until all are wrapped, placing them 1 inch apart on the baking sheet.

Brush tops with oil or spray with nonstick spray and sprinkle with sesame seeds.

Bake in a preheated 400° oven for 20 minutes or until tops are lightly browned.

Serve with Jezebel Sauce.

Jezebel Sauce

This sauce makes a wonderful ham glaze, too.

1 (18-ounce) jar pineapple preserves

1 (18-ounce) jar apple jelly

1 (5.25-ounce) jar prepared horseradish

3 tablespoons dry mustard

1-2 teaspoons coarsely ground black pepper

1 tablespoon honey

Mix with an electric mixer. Refrigerate leftovers.



Supreme Pizza Pull-Apart Bread

Yield: One loaf

All the flavors of a supreme pizza are captured and put together with pull-apart bread made easy by using canned biscuits. This bread makes entertaining fun and is a welcome change from carry-out pizza.

2 tablespoons cooking oil

½ cup diced sweet onion

½ cup diced sweet pepper

½ cup diced fresh mushrooms

½ pound sweet Italian sausage

4 (7.5-ounce) cans buttermilk biscuits

4 ounces pepperoni, roughly chopped

3 ounces Canadian bacon, diced

2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Heat a large skillet to medium high and add oil. Sauté onions, peppers, and mushrooms until soft.

Add Italian sausage to skillet. Crumble and brown until pink is gone. Drain if needed. Set aside to cool while you prepare the biscuits.

Cut biscuits in half and add to a super-sized bowl. Add remaining ingredients and stir or mix well with your hands.

Pour mixture into a tube pan sprayed with nonstick spray.

Cover a sheet pan with aluminum foil. Place tube pan on sheet pan. Some of the grease may leak through the pan and the covered sheet pan will catch it.

Bake in a 350° preheated oven for 50 to 60 minutes or until center is done. Let cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan. Serve with marinara sauce for dipping.

Barbequed Country-style Rib Fried Hand Pie

Yield: 20 (3½-inch) oblong fried pies

Natchitoches (pronounced nak-uh-dush) Meat Pies were made famous by the movie Steel Magnolia. They are handheld fried pies filled with seasoned ground beef and pork. Fried pies, or hand pies, are nothing new. Southerners have been making sweet, fruit-filled fried pies for generations. Savory fried pies aren’t quite as common. Taking inspiration from the Natchitoches pies, I used leftover barbequed Southern-style rib meat to create a handpie that will serve as party appetizer or first course. Surprisingly, the pies have a better taste at room temperature than hot from the fry pan. This makes them an even better choice as a party appetizer. Don’t drizzle in barbecue sauce until right before eating.

2 cups cooked barbequed country-style rib meat, finely chopped

1 batch Buttermilk Biscuits*

Cooking oil, enough for 1-inch deep in cooking vessel

Barbecue sauce for garnish

* For buttermilk biscuits, see page 29. Follow recipe down to folding technique. After the dough is folded, roll out to ½ inch thick.

With buttermilk biscuit dough rolled to ½ inch thick, cut out 20 biscuits with a 3-inch biscuit cutter. Pat out each biscuit with your hand until slightly flat.

Divide the chopped rib meat among the biscuit, placing it in the center of each. I put roughly a scant kitchen teaspoonful on each biscuit.

Dip your finger and water and moisten the outside edge. This helps the biscuit stay folded after crimping.

Fold each biscuit in half. Be sure to tuck the meat inside as you fold.

Crimp the folded edge.

In a cooking vessel with high sides, heat 1 inch of cooking oil to 350°.

Drop in the biscuits in batches, being careful not to overcrowd. Fry on one side, about 3 minutes, until golden brown. Flip and fry about 3 minutes on the other side.

Remove to a draining rack. Repeat with remainder of the biscuits.

Drizzle with barbecue sauce before eating.



I hope my grandchildren have fond food memories that involve me.

Sal-mon Patties

Igrew up hearing the “L” pronounced in salmon. That remains a common pronunciation in rural parts of the Deep South where some folks are adamant that it’s the correct and only way to pronounce it. Besides, whoever took the “L” away made one more word that school children can’t spell phonetically.

Salmon patties were a staple in my grandmother and mother’s kitchens. Canned salmon was accessible and inexpensive. Throwing together salmon patties made quick work of getting dinner on the table. We would eat the patty with ketchup along with a couple of side dishes, or make a sandwich with mayonnaise and ketchup on white bread. I’ve heard salmon patties referred to as Poor Man’s Crab Cakes. My family didn’t consider them a substitute for crab cakes because they didn’t feel the need to have anything as elaborate as crab cakes as part of our routine meals. Before fresh fish or a variety of quality frozen fish was available in Southern groceries, sitting down to a fish meal meant you or someone you know had been fishing. Canned salmon was relied upon as a way to bring fish to the table when the fishermen were down on their luck.

One of my fondest food memories involves my grandmother and salmon patties. We finished hanging out the clothes on the clothesline and went into the kitchen to make lunch, which she called dinner. She started cooking salmon patties and pulled out a recipe she had just received for an egg custard pie that she called a magic pie because it made its own crust. I was old enough, she thought, to learn how to make this pie. As she cooked the salmon patties, she coaxed me through the pie-making process. She thought the combination of salmon patties and egg custard pie made for an extraordinarily special lunch. It made an extraordinarily lunch, alright, but in a different way than she imagined.

Salmon Chive Patties on Dill Biscuits

Yield: 8 appetizers or first course servings

This is an updated version of my grandmother’s salmon patty recipe, which I turned into an appetizer or first course and serve with dill biscuits. Instead of finely chopped onion, I substituted fresh chives. She ordinarily added flour as a binder, although, I have seen her crush up a sleeve of saltine crackers to use instead of flour. I used bread crumbs instead. Leftover biscuits pulsed in the food processor until they are crumbs could be used. Thinly sliced radishes are optional, but they do add a nice crunchy texture to the dish.

For Dill Biscuits, see recipe page 49

Salmon patties:

1 (7½-ounce) can wild Alaskan pink salmon, drained

1 egg, slightly beaten

3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh chives

3 tablespoons plain breadcrumbs

1 teaspoon seasoned salt

Cooking oil for frying


1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

2 tablespoon mayonnaise*

1 teaspoon granulated sugar

¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

*I use Duke’s mayonnaise, which contains no sugar. If using a different brand, the amount of sugar might need adjusting.

For salmon patties:

Add salmon, egg, and chives to a mixing bowl. Stir together.

In a small bowl, stir breadcrumbs and seasoned salt. Add to salmon mixture and stir.

Divide into 8 portions and form patties about 2 inches wide and ¼ inches thick.

Over medium-high heat, fry patties three to four minutes or until golden brown. Flip over and repeat on other side.

Remove from skillet and drain on paper towel.

For Sauce:

Whisk together.

To assemble:

Split open biscuits. Spread sauce on both sides. Add salmon patty one side and top with a thinly sliced radish. Top with other half of biscuit.



Brandied Apricot Jam and Goat Cheese

with Tavern Biscuits

Yield: 6 to 8 appetizer servings

I found Mrs. Dull’s Tavern Biscuits so interesting, I wanted to come up with a way to use them on a cheese board in the same manner as crackers. While they’re slightly sweet, the flat appearance and tiny holes make them favor crackers more than modern biscuits. A tangy cheese, such as goat cheese, would offset the sweetness of the biscuit. Brandied apricot jam would complement the brandy in the biscuits. Since apricots were out of season, I experimented with dried apricots to make the jam, but I could never get it just right. Adding brandy to a good-quality commercially prepared apricot jam and heating produced the desired results.

½ cup quality apricot jam

1 tablespoon brandy

4 ounces goat cheese

Tavern biscuits (see page 47)

Add apricot jam and brandy to a small sauce pan. Heat until the jam melts, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and chill before using.

To serve, top the cheese with a small amount of jam and spread on tavern biscuits.

Spicy Pimento Cheese Bites

Yield: about 15

Preheat oven to 450°

I felt compelled to have a pimento cheese (we say pimmenocheese) recipe lest I forsake my Southern heritage. Kids in the South are raised on pimento cheese sandwiches. The Master’s, a prestigious PGA major golf tournament held at the famous Augusta National Golf Club, has a long-standing pimento cheese sandwich tradition. A favorite childhood lunch for me was pimmenocheese on toasted white bread with pink lemonade. For some reason, I preferred pink lemonade over regular even though there’s no difference in the taste, only color. From kitchen sandwiches to major golf tournaments and everything in between, we are pimento cheese people. For this recipe, use your favorite homemade pimento cheese or purchase a quality store-bought variety.

Placing the jalapeño slice on top of the pimento cheese instead of under it gives the pepper slice a little time to roast, which adds flavor and brings out a little sweetness.

¾ cup soft winter wheat all-purpose flour

1¼ teaspoons baking powder

¼ teaspoon kosher salt

¼ cup plain cornmeal

¼ cup unsalted butter, cubed and chilled

½ cup buttermilk

½-¾ cups pimento cheese

15 pickled jalapeño pepper slices

Place flour, baking powder, kosher salt, and cornmeal in a bowl and stir lightly. Rub or cut in butter until flour resembles coarse meal.

Pour in buttermilk and stir until dough is wet and sticky. Turn out onto a well-floured surface. Sprinkle flour on top. Gently work in the flour, adding more as needed, until the dough is no longer sticky and holds its shape.

Roll out to ½ inch thick. Cut with a 2-inch biscuit cutter dipped in flour.

With the back of your hand, flatten out the cut-out biscuit as much as possible.

Spray a mini-muffin pan with nonstick spray.

Place about a teaspoon of pimento cheese in the center of the biscuit cut out. Press the edges of the cut out toward the center to form a flower shape. Place the biscuit in a mini-muffin cup and top with a pickled jalapeño slice.

Repeat with each biscuit cut out.

Place in a 450° oven for 12 minutes or until the cheese is melted and slightly brown and the biscuit is done.

Remove from oven and transfer each biscuit to a cooling rack for 5 minutes. Best served warm.


Skillet Toasted Biscuits

with Herb Cream Cheese and Country Tomato Relish

Yield: 16 biscuit halves

As much as we love our biscuits and eat them regularly, there’s bound to be some left over. You can always throw them in a freezer bag and keep adding until you have enough to make a pan of dressing to accompany a roasted chicken or the Thanksgiving turkey. Skillet toasting is another way to make use of a biscuit after it’s lost its freshness. Use any savory biscuit that you have on hand. Herb cream cheese topped with a country tomato relish adds wonderful texture and flavor to the biscuit toasted crispy in bacon drippings.

Country tomato relish:

2 tablespoon bacon drippings

1 medium sweet onion, finely chopped

1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes

2 tablespoons fresh basil, roughly chopped

1 tablespoon honey

2 tablespoons pickled jalapeño slices, finely chopped

Salt and pepper to taste

Skillet toasted biscuits:

6 slices uncooked bacon

8 leftover biscuits, split open

Cream cheese spread:

8 ounces cream cheese, softened

2 heaping tablespoons mayonnaise

1 tablespoon fresh dill, finely chopped

1 tablespoon fresh chives, finely chopped

For country tomato relish:

Add bacon drippings to a medium-sized cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Add onion and cook until tender and translucent, about 15 minutes.

Add tomatoes and their juice. Continue over medium heat until most of the liquid has evaporated.

Stir in basil, honey, and jalapeño peppers. Cook until basil has wilted.

Taste for seasonings and adjust.

Set aside.

For skillet toasted biscuits:

Cook bacon in large cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Remove when crispy and drain on paper towels.

While the skillet is still hot, put in the biscuits cut-side down. When toasted brown, flip over and repeat on the other side. You may need to cook in batches.

Set biscuits aside.

To assemble:

Spread cut side of biscuits with cream cheese spread. Top with a dollop of tomato relish. Crumble bacon over biscuits.