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Buttermilk-Fennel Biscuits

Makes 12-14

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon of finely snipped fennel fronds, or other fresh herb    such as rosemary or thyme
6 tablespoons lard or vegetable shortening
3/4 cup buttermilk

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a large bowl. Stir in snipped fennel tops or herbs. Work in the lard with your fingertips or a pastry blender until the mixture is the consistency of coarse meal. Beat in the buttermilk until a stiff (not wet) dough is formerd. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface to 1/2 inch thick. With a biscuit cutter, cut out 12 to 14 rounds. Place the biscuit rounds on an ungreased baking sheet.

Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until nicely browned. Serve hot.

Source: Chesapeake Bay Cooking with John Shields (Broadway, 2004)

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