This week's recipe is from Berkshire-based duo The Butcher & The Baker. The Butcher is Jake, a nose-to-tail butcher/artist, who loves to cook and grew up in the woody hills of Western Massachusetts where his passion for local, fresh food was first instilled in him. The Baker is Silka, a designer/crafter who loves to bake and grew up in rural Western New York where her parents are candlestick makers. Together they spend most of their time talking about, shopping for, making, and eating food. By sourcing locally and sustainably, and spending time with the producers of their food, they’ve learned that every meal tells a story.
It seems like, since our first date, we’ve been talking about taking a food-centric roadtrip through the South… and we finally made it! A month or so ago, we ate our way into Savannah, then through Charleston and finally, on to Asheville. Of course, we didn’t see and consume everything we wanted to, but it was a pretty good start.
There are many things that drew us to the south - chief among them, a restaurant in Charleston led by one of our favorite chefs, Sean Brock - but we were surprised by how much we loved the Low Country of South Carolina. We immediately connected with the lush and swampy landscape, the culture, and yes, the food! Biscuits! Smoked pork! Cheese! Grits! Butter, butter and more butter! We wished we could take it all home with us.
When we arrived back in The Berkshires, our belts a little tighter, spring was barely emerging. Not much was happening in the garden beds except our trusty chives, which had sprung up high as if to welcome us home. Yearning for a taste of our travels, we set to work putting together a reminiscent dish, but with locally-sourced ingredients: Chive and Cheddar Biscuits, with North Plain Farm bacon and eggs. It might be a while until we make it back to the low country, but until then, this hearty breakfast will keep up sated.
Chive and Cheddar Biscuits
2 ¼ cups cake flour
2 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
¾ teaspoon salt
¾ teaspoon baking soda
9 tablespoons salted butter, cut into small chunks and frozen for a few minutes
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
⅓ cup chopped chives
¾ cup buttermilk
egg wash (1 egg, whisked together with 1 tsp water)
1. Preheat oven to 400°F and cover a baking sheet with a layer of parchment paper.
2. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. Working quickly and gently, use your fingertips or a pastry blender to work the butter into the dry ingredients until the butter is broken into pea-sized pieces. When it’s done, it will resemble a very coarse meal. Add the shredded cheese and chives and stir until combined.
3. Add the buttermilk and stir until clumps form. Knead the mixture gently until it just holds together.
4. Dump the dough on to a floured surface and pat into a rectangle, about ¾ inch thick. At this point, you can either cut the rectangle into smaller 3 inch-ish segments or cut 2-3 inch rounds with a biscuit cutter. Either way, transfer to the baking sheet, leaving about 2 inches in between biscuits.
5. Lightly brush egg wash on top of biscuits and put into oven. Bake for 15 minutes, until biscuits are golden brown on top. Serve immediately.