Elevate Your Next Biscuits And Gravy With Some Cajun Spice

If you were asked, "What do you think of when you think of the food you'd find in the Southern United States?" what would your response be? Some of you may think of pulled pork and cornbread. Others may think of fried chicken and lobster boils. You might even say grits and pecan pie. While these are all things commonly associated with the states that make up the Southern United States, there is one food you can argue that we seem to have left out: biscuits and gravy.

In case you never heard of biscuits and gravy, the meal at its most basic is simply buttermilk biscuits served with sausage gravy, usually served by itself or alongside another breakfast item like eggs, hash browns, or toast. This simple but delicious breakfast staple has been a part of Southern breakfast for many centuries, with the dish being theorized to have been introduced in the 1800s or as early as the Revolutionary War.  When prepared correctly, biscuits and gravy can be a filling and hearty meal all on its own.

Although the combination of flaky buttermilk biscuits and savory gravy filled with chunks of sausage is a perfectly fine pairing, even with only simple ingredients, that doesn't mean you can experiment a little bit with the gravy to give it more flavor. By simply adding a few common Cajun ingredients, you can have a meal that's both savory, spicy, and even just a little bit sweet to pair with your buttermilk biscuits.

You can add a Cajun spice blend to your sausage gravy

Sausage gravy is usually prepared by frying up crumbled breakfast sausage in a pan, then adding your choice of milk or cream and flour to the pan that will combine with the fat and drippings to make a creamy, thick, and savory gravy. While this is a very effective and simple way to make sausage gravy for any occasion, it wouldn't hurt to add a few handfuls of Cajun spices into the mix.

What is Cajun seasoning exactly? Cajun spice seasoning is usually made up of various types of dried or ground pepper, such as black, white, and cayenne pepper alongside onion powder, garlic powder, and paprika. This means that, even if you don't have any store-bought Cajun spice in your home, you more likely than not have at least a few of the ingredients needed to prepare a very basic, but very flavorful, Cajun spice blend. 

But why add Cajun seasoning to your gravy to begin with? This addition of common spices adds much more flavor to your gravy, transforming it from savory into something that has a bit more heat to it. It wouldn't be an intense heat– think more of a pleasant spice that lingers on your tongue after you take a bite of the buttery biscuits and the thick, creamy gravy. You can also adjust the level of heat you want, such as adding or omitting cayenne pepper, depending on your personal taste. 

You can also add peppers and onions to your gravy

Let's say that you're really into Cajun cooking. Even if you add a few sprinkles of pepper and cayenne, you'd still want to add more of that classic flavor profile you'd expect to find in New Orleans. If you want more Cajun in your biscuits and gravy, all you have to do is simply add the "Holy Trinity."

The so-called "Holy Trinity" of Cajun cooking consists of onions, bell peppers, and celery– or more accurately, the flavors of onions, bell peppers, and celery. While not every Cajun dish may have onions or celery in it, there's a very good chance that the meats or vegetables used in said dish have been prepared in a "flavor base" of the three "holy" ingredients. By sauteing celery, onions, and peppers in butter or oil, one can make a savory and rich flavor base that combines the savoriness of the celery with the sweetness of the onions and bell peppers. This base can be then be used for any sort of application you want– gumbos, roasts, soups, and in this case, sausage gravy.

While you're frying up the sausage in the pan, add a bit of butter, celery, onion, and peppers. This will not only infuse the sausage with those delicious flavors but also impart their flavor into the roux as you make the gravy. Just remove the browned vegetables before adding your milk or flour beforehand if you want a smooth gravy.