Stout Mushroom Gravy and Chicken with Beer Biscuits


Stout Mushroom Gravy and Chicken with Beer Biscuits  

Stout Mushroom Gravy and Chicken with Beer Biscuits_


I was once friends with a man who was 100 years old. We had a bit of an unlikely friendship, since he had reached retirement age long before I was even born. He was smart, funny, and seems to have no concept of the age gap.

Life was a constant opportunity to make people laugh, and he took full advantage of it.

When he moved to Los Angeles in the 1940’s to get his pneumonia stricken daughters out of the frigid East Coast winters, he was without money, without a job, and without an education. He walked in to a Taxi company headquarters and asked for a job. He had a fantastic driving record and a winning smile, in his book, that’s the only resume he needed. As soon as the hiring manager found out that he had only lived on the West Coast of a week, knew nothing about Los Angeles freeways, and had never driven a cab, he shut down the interview.

“If you don’t know how to get from LAX to the Roosevelt Hotel, how are you going to get the client there??”

Jack responded with this famous smile, “Well if you don’t give me the cab, it’s gonna take a whole lot longer!”

He got the job.

Jack worked as a cab driver, running tourist from the Airport to Hollywood for over 30 years. He was also the very first Employee of the Month for the cab company, and to date, the recipient of the  most complimentary letters ever sent to the cab company about any one of their employees.

As I sat with him only a few months before his 101’s birthday, eating biscuits that his nurse had made us, I asked him if he had any regrets.

“Not really. The secret to living 100 years old and not regretting anything is this: Do your best. Don’t hurt anyone. Make friends with anyone who will let you.”

 When my job moved me farther from his apartment in the valley, I wasn’t able to visit as often as I used to so I wrote letters, postmarked from my Santa Monica office. One day I got a return letter, addressed to me with flowery handwriting. It was from his 76 year old daughter:
I’m not sure what it was that formed a friendship between you and my Dad, but I wanted you to know how much he valued you. Your visits brightened his day, even his week. If there was a highlight from his last decade of life, it was the time he spent with you. He spoke of you often, and although my sister and I were at first skeptical of a friendship between him and a girl in her 20’s, it quickly became clear that there was a special bond between you two. I’m so sorry to tell you that he passed away, just a week shy of his 101’s birthday. I do want you to know that we appreciate the time you spent with him in his last year. Thank you.”
I cried. And ate biscuits in his honor, his favorite breakfast. To this day, “Do your best. Don’t hurt anyone. Make friends with anyone who will let you” is some of best advice I’ve gotten.

Stout Mushroom Gravy and Chicken with Beer Biscuits 3


Stout Mushroom Gravy and Chicken with Beer Biscuits


    For the Biscuits:
  • 3 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 8 tbs unsalted cold butter, cut into cubes
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 2/3 cup Belgian ale (or wheat beer)
  • 2 tbs melted butter
  • ¼ tsp course sea salt
  • For the Chicken and Gravy:
  • 3 tbs butter
  • 2 boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • ¼ cup chopped yellow onion
  • 8 wt oz chopped crimini mushrooms
  • ¼ cup flour
  • 1 cup beef stock
  • ¾ cup stout beer
  • ¼ cup heavy cream
  • 1 tbs honey
  • salt and pepper to taste


  • Preheat oven to 400.
  • In a processor add flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and sugar.
  • Pulse to combine. Add the cold butter, process until well combined. Add to a large bowl.
  • Add the buttermilk and beer. Mix with a fork until just combined.
  • Add to a well-floured flat surface, pat into a rectangle. Using a cold rolling pin (preferably marble) gently roll into a large rectangle, about 1 inch in thickness, using as few strokes as possible.
  • Fold the dough into thirds as you would a letter about to go into an envelope. Roll lightly, once in each direction to about 1 inch thickness, fold in thirds again. Gently roll into about 1 1/2 inch thickness (this will give you the flakey layers).
  • Using a biscuit cutter cut out 6 to 8 biscuits. Place in a baking pan that has been sprayed with cooking spray.
  • Brush biscuits with melted butter, sprinkle salt.
  • Bake at 425 for 10 to 12 minutes or until the tops are golden brown.
  • While the biscuits bake, make the gravy.
  • Melt the butter in a sauce pan over medium high heat.
  • Sprinkle the chicken thighs with salt and pepper. Sear on each side until golden brown, remove from the pan, chop (they do not need to be cooked through).
  • Add the onions, cook until softened, about five minutes. Add the mushrooms, cook until mushrooms are dark brown and soft.
  • Sprinkle with flour, cook until the flour has turned brown, about 2 minutes.
  • Add the beef stock and stout. Simmer until thickened. Add the chicken cubes back into the pan, simmer until cooked through.
  • Add the cream, stir until well combined.
  • Salt and pepper to taste.
  • Split the biscuits, fill with gravy.


Stout Mushroom Gravy and Chicken with Beer Biscuits 2

7 thoughts on “Stout Mushroom Gravy and Chicken with Beer Biscuits

  1. What a beautiful story. It always amazes me how two people come together and can form the most unexpected friendships. It sounds like you both were very lucky to have met one another. I am sorry for your loss.
    Oh and by the way…the recipe looks divine!
    I am a follower and just adore cooking with beer!

    1. He was 100, so it wasn’t exactly unexpected, I’m just so glad I had the time with him that I did. He had some great stories, I wish I’d written them all down!

  2. Thank you for sharing that story. I find the most unexpected friendships are the most fulfilling as well. How wonderful that his daughters acknowledged and accepted you. I know that letter must have broke your heart but meant the world to you as well. Sorry for your loss of a good friend.

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