Stuffed Biscuits, 1972

A long time ago – the autumn of 1972, to be exact, my elementary class went to the circus.  We were gone nearly the entire day and the only thing that those teachers thought to bring for three dozen or so first and second-graders were the individual bags of M&Ms – no other food.  When I finally got home, I was sick (a head cold), tired, and exceptionally hungry.  My mother, outraged over the “Let them eat candy” part, decided to baby me, which was good because very few evils can stand up to a mother’s love.  But what I remember most about that particular day was the plate of stuffed biscuits she served us for dinner.

This was a dish that I can only compare to a cinnamon roll.  She took biscuit dough, separated it into about a half-dozen small balls, and rolled them flat.  Not too flat, but each had to be between 1/4” and 1/2” thick.  Then, she took some browned ground beef and spread it out in each of these flattened patties.  I vaguely remember a slight amount of brown gravy being added, and the patties rolled up.  These were then baked, and when finished, she put each on to a plate and draped them with gravy containing the rest of her ground beef.

I have never had any success in replicating this dish.  She only made it once and by the time I actually asked about it, nearly two decades later, she didn’t even remember making it.

So, I’ve been experimenting.

In my case, I browned a pound of ground beef, and added green pepper and seasoning salt.  (I’d wanted onion, too, but evidently it’s illegal in this state to sell an onion that’s smaller than a bus.)  The meat cooked only in its own fat, and there wasn’t much of that, so I had to work quickly.  Once browned, I chopped it finely – no huge clumps of meat for this dish – and put it all to the side.  I mixed up a standard batch of Bisquick biscuits (it’s just easier), and once ready, I cut out a few very thin biscuits.  I added the meat and pinched them closed; they looked like small meat pies, which is pretty much what they were.  I baked them for about ten minutes, and as they finished, I took the remaining meat/pepper mixture and added a jar of beef gravy.  When the baked pies were ready, I put one on a plate and covered them with the meat-n-gravy.

I’m toying with a breakfast version: it’ll have scrambled egg and sausage (or ham) inside, covered with a sausage gravy

So here it goes:

Pre-heat your oven to 450 degrees.  This depends on your biscuit mix, since you’re essentially making biscuits with stuff in them.

I use a pound of extra lean ground beef, which is browned thoroughly.  Given that extra lean means “nearly no fat,” I’ve got to watch it or else it’ll burn.  As it browns, I try to chop it as finely as I can.  The idea is to eliminate the larger chunks of meat.

To this I add chopped (or diced) green pepper and onion.  Since I cannot find smaller versions of either vegetable, this means that I’m using just a small portion of each.  For me, this means about 1/4 cup total (pepper and onion combined), although it’s really up to the cook.  (I love both, so I tend to add them to taste, rather than by measurement.)

Then add the seasoned salt – I also add this according to taste, but if I had to guess, I’d say that I add about a teaspoon or so.

Meanwhile, make a bowl of biscuit dough using Bisquick, and then roll it out to about 1/4 inch thickness.  I know it’s tempting to get Pillsbury’s canned biscuit dough or their roll-out pastry, but I prefer Bisquick for this.  I cut out about eight-4 inch biscuit rounds.

When the meat is done, turn off the heat.  I take one of the rounds and a small spoonful of meat/pepper/onion mixture, and put it in the center of the round.  Fold it over and pinch the edges.  It’ll have a half-moon shape and look like a Hostess fruit pie.  Fill your remaining biscuit rounds the same way.  [NB: During this most recent attempt, I added a small amount of shredded cheese before sealing the biscuit, but I don’t know if I’d do that again.  I am, however, tempted to add canned diced potatoes (as they’re generally cut small) to the meat as it browns, to see how they’d be as an addition.  I’d be wary of adding anything else as these biscuits aren’t that big.]

I usually have about 1/4 to 1/2 of the beef/pepper/onion mix remaining by this point.  The stuffed biscuits are baked – I leave them in for about 8 to 10 minutes – but I should note that it works for my older oven; others might have different results.  While they bake, pour in a jar (or two, depending on your needs) of brown or beef gravy.  Personally, I like a single 18 ounce jar of Heinz Savory Beef gravy, as that is just enough, but again – it depends on what you like.  Turn the heat back on and let this simmer.

When the biscuits are done, turn off your oven and take them out.  Put one on a plate (they’ll be hot so watch it), and using a ladle or serving spoon, take some of the beef/gravy and drape it over the biscuit.  I like to serve mashed potatoes as a side; pour some of the beef/gravy over them, too.


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