You may be familiar with Grillades (gree-yahds) as a spicy, stewed dish of beef or pork cooked in a rich gravy served over grits at brunch. But to me, it’s much more than that. While popular as a New Orleans Creole dish, grillades have been known as a common main meal to the country people of Acadiana for years.
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No one is sure where grillades originated from. It may have come from the country Boucheries where leftover pieces of pork were made into a simple stew. A stew that was left to cook slowly while they labored together then eaten in celebration at the end of the day. You can read more about Boucheries here at Introducing Tasso Macaroni and Cheese .
The Difference In Styles
In doing a little research I found that unlike the Cajun-style grillades, the typical Creole one has added tomatoes. Another difference is that we Cajun’s prefer our meat and gravy ladled over our beloved rice as to a helping of grits. It’s not that one way is better than the other. I’ve learned that most preferences come from the region a person has been indoctrinated into. Since I have recently experienced these Jazzed-up Grillades over grits I can attest that each assembly is delicious.
Another way Cajuns like to eat grillades is cooked on the grill. There are specialty meat shops and grocery stores that sell them already cut and generously seasoned making meal prep for cookouts even easier. These have a tantalizing spice giving the meat a flavor that keeps eaters coming back for more. It’s an addicting taste that is better enjoyed with a glass of cold refreshment to keep down the fire.
While searching for different ways to prepare grillades in cookbooks and on the internet, I found these recipes to be no more than too typical. Then a friend shared with me her way of preparing grillades. “Her way” meaning “no recipe.” Over the phone, she told me the one ingredient she uses in a marinade that I thought would ruin the stew. It wasn’t just the ingredient, but the amount she was telling me to add. I even sent her pictures by iPhone to see if I added enough and she kept telling me, “More … no … more!” So I trusted her and sure enough she was right. (She usually is.)
As you can see from the picture above the ingredient is mustard. Who knew? It took a little time for me to realize mustard was a fitting marinade ingredient, but as soon as the meat began to tenderize I was convinced. This yellow condiment added along with vinegar, seasoning, onion, garlic, and bell pepper to the meat gives the gravy it’s tang or jazz.
Surprisingly the gravy thickened without any added flour making it even easier to prepare. IIt’s different from any other Cajun stew I’ve experienced, yet it stays true to that unique southern Louisiana taste. I can’t express how much I enjoy eating these delicious grillades!
The recipe below is what evolved in my own kitchen. I will be making it again and again and I hope you give grillades a try. You won’t be disappointed and don’t be intimidated by the mustard. Go ahead and add you some jazz!
Surprisingly, this Cajun stewed meat dish gets its jazz from a mustard marinade of spices, onion, bell pepper, and garlic. Slow cooking it ensures a rich and unusual tangy tasting gravy to serve over grits or rice any time of day.
Slice meat into strips or medallions. Season meat well with seasoning. Add sliced onion, bell pepper, and garlic to the meat in a large bowl. Add vinegar and mustard, mix well and place into a ziplock bag. Marinate for 8 hours or more.
Drain marinade from meat in a colander over the sink. This leaves enough marinade on the meat for seasoning the stew. Pour oil into a black iron pot and heat. Add marinated meat and vegetables browning the meat well while cooking the vegetables with it. Add broth and water, cover pot and cook until meat is tender and vegetables are dissolved into the gravy. The round steak may take up to two hours to cook for tender results.
Serve meat and gravy over cooked rice or grits. Enjoy!
Lastly, I now type this true confession: “Since I have recently experienced eating grillades over grits I feel it’s perfectly okay to eat them at breakfast or for that matter any time of the day, and I do,” said with my right hand lifted.
Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible, and suddenly you are doing the impossible. Francis of Assisi