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Cornmeal Biscuits with Country Sausage and Watermelon Rind Preserves are THE BEST darn ‘lil breakfast biscuits this side of the Mason Dixon…
All images and text ©Jenny DeRemer for Not Entirely Average, LLC
Cornmeal Biscuits With Country Sausage And Watermelon Rind Preserves
Watermelon rind preserves have been being canned in the American South for forever, and is a great way to use the whites of the rinds for something entirely fabulous! AMAZING on a charcuterie board not to mention these morning handhelds! Sweet like jelly and a very unexpected burst of delicious when coupled with country sausage on a cheesy cornmeal cheddar scratch biscuit. These cornmeal biscuits are sweet, salty, savory, and something you will kick yourself for missing out on if you don’t try ’em.
I see you over there wincing at the thought of some piece of pickled something or another…don’t knock it until you’ve tried it, because this ‘lil biscuit is OUTRAGEOUSLY GOOD!
Looking for that ‘thing’ that’s just a little bit different than the average? Well, I’m here to tell you that you’ve found it, and it’s so incredibly delicious, you’ll giggle at the fact that it somehow involves the salvaged rind of a watermelon!
I am that gal ALWAYS looking for the next best thing for breakfast! And since I am a biscuit connoisseur, it only makes sense that I’ll try every darn thing stuffed into one of these ‘lil handhelds.
How This Recipe Came About…
Not too many months back, I was rewatching episodes of A Chef’s Life. For those of you who may not know, Chef Vivian Howard is a tremendous role model of mine. And during one particular episode, I watched Vivian pickle watermelon rind.
In particular, she wanted the finished product shaped like a square so it’d fit on a biscuit. But once I watched her pair that watermelon pickle and biscuit with homemade lamb sausage, I knew I had to try it.
This recipe I am sharing today could’ve gone any of a hundred ways OTHER than what I am about to show you.
What I mean to say, is that I am always perfecting sausage gravy for biscuits, fried chicken for biscuits, fried green tomatoes coated in biscuit crumbs, or serving up a fried egg and roasted red bell pepper atop a biscuit because those are all “the norm.” This isn’t.
This recipe is unique. And for as peculiar as watermelon rind pickles for breakfast may sound, this is as southern as you’ll ever see me cook. Sure, I have lots of recipes here on Not Entirely Average that are typical southern dishes. But this one? This is just improvised comfort food making the most out of things that’d otherwise just be thrown away.
Do You Have What’s Needed For Cornmeal Biscuits With Country Sausage And Watermelon Rind Preserves? Check The List!
shredded cheddar cheese
shredded Monterey Jack cheese
freeze dried chives
mild country sausage
jar of watermelon rind pickles
Where To Find Watermelon Rind Pickles?
I thought about pickling a new batch of watermelon pickles for the purposes of this post. Time and life have gotten in the way of my grabbing another perfect melon to put up, so I am linking my favorite brands of pickled watermelon rinds herein.
I do not expect (unless you reside in the south) that you will easily find a jar of this at your local grocer, however I’d encourage you to try. Sometimes just taking a visual inventory of unique regional foodstuffs can inspire cooking and baking in all of us. I found my first jar nestled among pickled Vidalia onions and packages benne wafers. I bought ’em all.
Do Watermelon Rind Pickles Taste Like Pickles?
Um, no…not at all in fact. Preserved rinds are kind of like biting into something the same texture as the fruit in fruit cocktail, and are sweet with just the right amount of tangy and spice.
They are preserved first by boiling, then using cinnamon, cloves, with sugar and are altogether mind-blowingly delicious.
How To Make Cornmeal Breakfast Biscuits?
Well these little biscuits are fabulous because they are moistened by way of buttermilk, and studded throughout with cheese.
The beauty of this recipe is that you only end up with eight perfect biscuits rather than dozens. AND no cookie cutters or biscuit cutters required.
These are free-form and sort of square, so not a whole lot of fuss. They bake in a matter of twelve to fifteen minutes, and are just good eatin’!
So here it is in a nutshell – everything is mixed together in your food processor, then kneaded along with the shredded cheeses in mixing bowl (or counter top) five or six times just until the cheese is visually incorporated.
Then, the dough is shaped up into an elongated kind of rectangle, patted flat, and scored with a knife to arrive at eight equal parts.
Since biscuits rise best when they are touching one another during a bake, leaving the eight parts semi in tact helps to arrive at mile high fluffy and cheesy biscuits. Heck, these are good as is with just some butter and jelly.
What Is The Best Sausage To Use With This Breakfast Biscuit Recipe?
As I referenced earlier, Vivian Howard used a homemade lamb sausage on her biscuits. I specify a mild country pork sausage in this method because it is what most compliments the sweet and cinnamon-y watermelon pickle.
Use any sausage you like, including sausage that your butcher may grind. Sometimes, those are fantastic mixes.
Modifying The Norm To Make It Not Entirely Average…
If I were to throw the “typical” suggestion of an egg out there to top these biscuits with, it’d be just that…typical.
To mix things up and really make this not entirely average, I could see creating a Benedict out of this handheld, open faced, by adding a fried crab cake to the sausage and watermelon pickle.
I’d even add either a Hollandaise sauce or basic Béchamel to cap it off.
Can I Make Breakfast Biscuits Without The Watermelon Rind?
Of course, and I expect there will be those of you who run with the biscuit part of this recipe only. That’s totally okay because as I said, this is a great ‘lil biscuit. I would however, encourage you to try preserved watermelon pickles at some point or another. Why? They’re darn delicious!
Can The Cornmeal Biscuits Be Made Ahead?
So, I’d love to tell you these would be great made the day before but they’re just not. Straight out of your oven and hot is the best way to enjoy these biscuits.
If you do however find you have one or two leftover, wrap them in foil until you’re ready to enjoy them again. To re-heat, remove the foil and wrap tightly in a paper towel. Place into the microwave for 30 to 45 seconds. The biscuits will be steamy and ready for whatever topping you have in store.
How To Serve Cornmeal Biscuits With Country Sausage And Watermelon Rind Preserves?
With plenty of napkins!
Cornmeal Biscuits With Country Sausage And Watermelon Rind Preserves
- ½ cup cornmeal
- 1 cup flour
- ½ tablespoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ cup unsalted butter cold; cut into cubes
- ½ cup buttermilk
- ½ teaspoon Kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons freeze dried chives
- 1 tablespoon raw honey
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- ¼ cup sharp cheddar cheese shredded
- ¼ cup Monterey Jack cheese shredded
- ½ pound mild country sausage sliced into 8 rounds
- 1 jar watermelon pickles
- Preheat oven to 450°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
- Add the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, freeze dried chives, honey, cayenne pepper, and butter to the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until everything is combined.
- Add the buttermilk and continue to pulse until the dough comes together. Mixture will be sticky.
- Transfer the dough to a large mixing bowl that has been dusted with flour. Add the shredded cheeses. Knead the dough ball 5 or 6 times until the cheese is visually incorporated.
- Transfer the dough to the prepared baking sheet. Shape it into a rectangle about 1 inch thick. It needn't be perfectly square at the corners. Using a large sharp kitchen knife, make one long cut down the middle of the rectangle. Do not separate the halves. Next, make a cut across the rectangle cutting it in half, again leaving the pieces together or slightly touching. Lastly, make two additional cuts to each half leaving you with 8 squares.
- Bake at 450°F for 5 minutes. Reduce the temperature to 400°F and bake for 8-10 minutes more. Long center cut will be raised and biscuits are done when the dough begins to gap slightly in the middle nearest that cut.
- While the biscuits are baking, assemble the sausage patties in the non-stick skillet and cook over low to medium low heat for 2 to 3 minutes per side or until lightly golden brown.
- To assemble, split each biscuit with the tines of a fork. Top with 1 sausage patty each. Then top the sausage patties with several pieces of watermelon rind preserve and spoon a bit of the jelly over top, too. Replace the biscuit top and enjoy hot.
The nutrition value can vary depending on what product(s) you use. The information below is an estimate. Always use a calorie counter you are familiar with.
Please note that table salt and iodized salt are NOT substitutions for Kosher salt. Do not deviate unless otherwise specified.