Saturday, February 26, 2011

Southern Sliders (Buttermilk Biscuits with Country Ham and Tangerine Marmalade)

Mark and I have been craving these for many, many years...ever since our dear friends Bill and Tarina were married in Nashville. Of course, they didn't call them "sliders" then...sort of an annoyingly trendy term, I know - but now that we've actually made them, that's the first and best name we thought of. Damn insidious trends !! of the delicious items served at Bill and Tarina's wedding was so simple - and so good - that we couldn't believe we hadn't thought of it : light and fluffy biscuits - not too huge - with slivers of honest-to-goodness country ham and orange marmalade. Pretty unusual combination, we thought...but really absolutely perfect together - the sweet-tart orange perfectly complimented the salty, smoky ham. And who doesn't love a good biscuit ? We've seriously been talking about these ever since the wedding...and that's quite a few years ago, now.

Flash we are with the remnants of a country ham just begging to be used, an afternoon beer run to Marty's with a chance walk by some really lovely preserves, and buttermilk to be used in the was time to give this one a go. Being foodies, we of course had to try to kick it up just a tiny bit...enter a previously unknown elixir : tangerine marmalade.

This stuff is seriously genius. Good orange marmalade is delicious enough (and works just fine on these, if that's what you can get), but the tangerine just elevates it to another level.

Two of the main ingredients down, one to go...we were going to need some biscuits. Buttermilk, flaky, fluffy...time to consult a go-to guy : Alton Brown

the perfect biscuit
Alton's recipes have never, ever let me down - and this one delivered. Perfect ! I made them a little bigger than Alton specified (2 1/2 inch instead of 2), but otherwise, followed his recipe exactly...why mess with success ? 

One note on the slider construction - use of cheese is optional. Nashville didn't serve them with cheese, but we decided to go ahead and try it...jury's still out on that one. These are fantastic with the cheese and fantastic without - Culinary Orgasm.

Southern Biscuits
  • 2 cups flour
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons shortening
  • 1 cup buttermilk, chilled
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Using your fingertips, rub butter and shortening into dry ingredients until mixture looks like crumbs. (The faster the better, you don't want the fats to melt.) Make a well in the center and pour in the chilled buttermilk. Stir just until the dough comes together. The dough will be very sticky.

Turn dough onto floured surface, dust top with flour and gently fold dough over on itself 5 or 6 times. Press into a 1-inch thick round. Cut out biscuits with a 2-inch cutter, being sure to push straight down through the dough. Place biscuits on baking sheet so that they just touch. Reform scrap dough, working it as little as possible and continue cutting. (Biscuits from the second pass will not be quite as light as those from the first, but hey, that's life.)

Bake until biscuits are tall and light gold on top, 15 to 20 minutes.

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