Cornmeal Angel Biscuits with Ham and Red-Eye Gravy

Recipe Information

Total Time: 

60 minutes



Traditional red-eye gravy is made by pouring coffee into the fat left behind after frying a ham steak in the pan. Since today's ham is usually relatively lean and trimmed, you can use butter to get the fat for the pan, and thicken with some flour. If you love coffee black, make yours with all coffee, but if that sounds a little too intense to you, use half milk.



  • 2 teaspoons yeast
  • 2 tablespoons lukewarm water
  • 2 cups unbleached flour
  • 1/2 cup cornmeal
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick butter, chilled
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • Extra flour

Ham and Gravy

  • 3 5-ounce ham steaks
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1 tablespoon unbleached flour
  • 1 cup brewed coffee, or half milk/half coffee
  • 2 tablespoons chopped chives


  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment. In a small bowl or cup, stir the yeast and lukewarm water and let stand until it bubbles. In a large bowl, whisk the unbleached flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking soda and salt. Coarsely grate in the cold butter and toss to coat. Pour in the buttermilk and the yeast mixture and stir to mix. Sprinkle flour on the countertop and scrape the dough onto the counter. Pat out to a rectangle about an inch thick. Cut in squares about 3 1/2 inches wide (or the shape and size you prefer) and transfer to the baking sheet. Let stand for 20 minutes to rise.
  2. Bake for 12-15 minutes, until golden brown.
  3. While the biscuits bake, melt the second measure of butter in a large cast iron or other skillet. Fry the ham slices in butter until browned, transfer to a plate and cover loosely to keep warm. To the pan, add the onions and saute over medium high heat until softened and clear, about five minutes.
  4. Sprinkle the second measure of flour over the onions and stir, cooking for a minute to toast the flour. Stir in the coffee or coffee and milk, gradually, and bring to a boil until thickened to a gravy consistency.
  5. Serve biscuits split, each half topped with a ham steak and gravy and sprinkled with chives.

Nutritional Information

430 calories, 21 g. fat, 63 mg. cholesterol, 734 mg. sodium, 49 g. carbohydrate, 3 g. fiber, 11 g. protein