Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Lincoln County Biscuits

I've talked many times about how I love Santa Fe, but recently we decided to visit a different part of New Mexico.  We went to Ruidoso for the weekend and it was a great getaway.  It's located in the mountains and it was the perfect break from the summer heat of Oklahoma.  We stayed in the most precious little cabin overlooking the Ruidoso River (which is more of a babbling brook) and even had two massive elk right outside our door.  The town has some great shopping and art galleries and we even did a wine tasting or two.  If you don't know, Ruidoso is located in Lincoln County.  That might sound familiar to you from history.  The Lincoln County War was a conflict between two different factions that included such notable wild west figures as: Billy the Kid and Sheriff Pat Garrett.  The famous battle made Billy the Kid not only a household name, but a fugitive.  In fact just 25 minutes from Ruidoso is Lincoln, New Mexico.  In the spring of 1881,  Billy was taken to the Lincoln County Courthouse where he was scheduled to be hanged.  Billy escaped, killing two guards in the process.  He was eventually shot and killed by Sheriff Pat Garret in Fort Sumner, NM.  I've always loved history, especially the history of the wild west.  And I've always been intrigued by Billy the Kid.  Maybe it's my love for the movie, Young Guns, or maybe it's because my dad's name is Billy.  Either way I fell in love with Lincoln County and enjoyed it as much as I do my visits to Santa Fe.  On our last morning in Ruidoso we went to a small diner for breakfast.  The menu listed something called Lincoln County Biscuits, described as biscuits made with sausage and green chilies, topped with cheese and served with gravy.  You simply cannot go to New Mexico and not eat green chilies.  Especially at breakfast.  (The day before I had enchiladas and eggs for breakfast, topped with green chile sauce and served with refried beans.  No bran muffins for me.)  I ordered the Lincoln County Biscuits and I was surprised when they came to the table.  I was expecting a regular biscuit stuffed with a sausage patty and some green chiles.  What I got was the most delightful presentation of a "pinwheel" made with flaky biscuit dough, spicy pork sausage, flavorful green chiles.  Topped with melted cheese and served with gravy.   It's safe to say I had the best breakfast at the table.  I immediately came home and set out to recreate it for you.  We've already eaten this twice.  The biscuits are individually frozen so you can bake as many as you need.  I sure hope Billy the Kid enjoyed these biscuits back in his day.  A true taste of New Mexico!

My version of New Mexico's
Lincoln County Biscuits
Flaky biscuit pinwheels filled with
pork sausage, cheese and green chiles...
Serve topped with gravy...
Here are the biscuits I had in New Mexico.
The inspiration for this recipe.
Lincoln, New Mexico hosts a Billy the Kid Festival
every August, featuring re-enactments and
all kinds of fun.  I'm definitely going back for this.
The infamous Lincoln County Courthouse where
Billy the Kid made his escape.
Sadly, he killed two deputies in the process.
I highly recommend you rent the movie
Young Guns.  It will help you
brush up on your Billy the Kid history.
Check out the beautiful
wildlife right outside our cabin.
Two of these majestic guys were
almost close enough to touch!
If you can't make it to Ruidoso anytime soon,
I think my re-creation of the Lincoln County Biscuits
is spot on.  The perfect taste of New Mexico!

Lincoln County Biscuits

4 cups Bisquick baking mix
1 cup whole milk
1 stick unsalted butter, cold and cut into pats
3 (4 ounce) cans chopped green chiles, drained
1 (1 pound) package hot pork sausage
1 (1 pound) package mild pork sausage
1 (8 ounce) package shredded cheddar cheese

white gravy for serving (Do not tell my mother, but I used a gravy mix from a package.  That's a huge Southern no-no.)

In a large bowl combine the baking mix and milk.  Cut in the butter pieces with a pastry cutter until a smooth dough has formed.  Refrigerate for 30 minutes.  Meanwhile, combine the sausage, green chiles and cheese in a large bowl.  Let this mixture stand at room temperature while the dough chills. (This will make it much easier to spread if it is room temperature.)

Remove 1/2 of the dough mixture from the refrigerator.  On a floured surface, roll into a rectangle that is approximately 10-12 inches long, 7-8 inches wide and about 1/2 inch thick.  Spread half of the sausage mixture over the dough.  Roll as for a jelly roll.  You'll should have a nice, neat log that is approximately 10-12 inches long.  Wrap this in plastic wrap and place in the freezer for exactly 1 hour.  Repeat with the other half of the dough and sausage mixture. 

After one hour, remove the logs from the freezer and unwrap.  Place on a cutting board and slice into 1/2 inch slices.  (They will look kind of like a cinnamon roll.)  At this point you can either bake the individual biscuits or freeze until ready to use.  (I placed them on a cookie sheet until they were frozen solid and then stuck them all in a freezer bag.) 

When you are ready to bake the biscuits place the frozen slices on a well-greased cookie sheet and bake at 400 degrees F for 25 minutes.

Serve with gravy and enjoy.

NOTE:  This will make approximately 20-30 biscuits and we found that 2-3 is a nice portion.  I love that the rest freeze well and you can bake them from frozen.  You don't even have to thaw them out.  The sausage wants to stick to the pan even if it's well-greased so you'll need to be patient and carefully remove them with a spatula.

Prep Time:  Approximately 2 hours (need to chill)  Cook Time:  Approximately 25 minutes

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