Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Cooking the Alphabet

B is for Broth and Biscuits

You know all those bits you trim off of vegetables?  The muddy ends and dried-up tips of celery, the nubby "feet" on a pepper, the woody stems of asparagus, the outer layers of onion, carrot peals ...

Well, experts say those bits are loaded with vitamins so I decided to start saving them from the landfill and make a broth with them, instead.  I collected bits in a baggie for several days and then tossed them into the freezer until I had enough.  Yesterday was the day to test this theory.

Cauliflower, broccoli, asparagus, celery, red pepper, onion
Let me first say that many of these vegetables turn to mush when frozen, but I was hoping it would not affect the flavor.  I first sauteed some fresh onion and celery in canola oil to develop a little flavor.  I added peppercorns (maybe too many of them), bay leaf and dried thyme.  Oh, my, the house smelled wonderful!

I strained out the vegetables and as the broth was cooling, UPS arrived with a shipment from my sister-in-law in Savannah -- beaten biscuits!  I know what I'll be having for lunch today ...

Beaten Biscuit
These little gems are a Southern delicacy!  Originally the dough would be beaten to achieve the right consistency, hence the name.  Modern (as in early 20th century) invention of a mechanical device called a break (or brake?), similar to a pasta roller, made the task a lot easier.

Beaten Biscuit Break (ignore the i-phone cord)
Further modernization added an electric motor with a foot control.

Beaten biscuits were a specialty of my husband's grandmother.  My mother-in-law inherited the break and made the biscuits to give her friends at Christmas (decorated with a hand-made ornament).  My SIL has continued that tradition (without the ornaments).  Until this past Christmas when the motor died (we won't talk about the time she got her hand caught in the rollers).

The motor was replaced a couple of weeks ago and SIL is back in business -- that is, after I drove to Ingles in Knoxville to buy the necessary Martha White AP flower and shipped it to her.  They are great warmed with a pat of butter in the middle, but we eat them cold like potato chips.  YUM


  1. Off I went to investigate beaten biscuits! I'd heard the name, but I'd always thought the 'beaten' meant like 'beat with a wooden spoon', rather than a smashing kind of beating! 8)

  2. I've heard of beaten biscuits but never eaten one. What an interesting contraption!
    How did the broth turn out?

  3. Oh my! Where’s the mailing list??

  4. The bottom part of the broccoli crown is good to eat if you peel off the tough outer layer.

  5. I worked in a restaurant before and during college. There was always a big stock pot on the stove that veggie parts went into. It boiled all day and went into the walk-in refrig at night. Next morning first thing it came out and veggie parts were drained out and the broth was used in homemade soups. Leftover broth went on the stove for new stock pot starter and stock pot started all over again. I keep a pot going at home in the summer when we have lots of veggies from the garden. I have never heard of beaten biscuits. I make biscuits but always thought beating the dough a lot made biscuits stiff and not flaky. And I've never heard of a break. We had lots of different gadgets for breadmaking at the restaurant but that was not one of them. Learn something new every day.


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