We Cajuns like our rice and gravy how our mama’s serve it. With a dark gravy (really dark) over a pile of white rice. And if there’s enough gravy to cover each grain, then she’s really good at it!
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For The Love Of Rice And Gravy
You may think you know gravy, but chances are, if you didn’t grow up Cajun, you don’t know it like we do. Our experiences are from eating rice day in and day out. The gravy on it may not have been made with beef every time, but whichever way our mamas could serve it up, they did it!
Rice has always been plentiful in Acadiana. It’s what our families farmed right along with cattle. Therefore, rice and gravy has always been a convenient way to fill their families’ bellies. A good gravy is made by bringing the meat (beef, pork, or chicken) to an almost fatal burn. Water is added to simmer the meat until tender, ending with a rich, flavorful gravy.
Another way we enjoy eating our beloved and plentiful rice is with seafood dishes. With an abundance of fish and shellfish, Cajuns have developed many seafood recipes that pair with their beloved rice. Recipes like Crawfish Etouffee, Shrimp Okra Gumbo, and Seafood Gumbo are to name a few.
Preparing Rice And Gravy
This is how I like to fix rice and gravy. You can use pork, chicken, or even fresh sausage to make gravy for rice, but today I’ll show you how with a chuck roast. I usually double this recipe to feed my family for Sunday Dinner.
First, season the meat. You can use your favorite combination or give my House Seasoning Blend or Pink Cajun Seasoning Blend a try. These homemade versions are perfect for flavoring meat or just about anything you sprinkle salt and pepper on. They are easy to prepare and more economical than storebought mixes.
Next, stuff the chuck roast by cutting small crosses into the meat. The cut of chuck from beef has always given me flavorful results. It is economical and has just enough fat to make a tender roast. If time permits I like to season and stuff the meat the day before, ensuring the best results. This may also cut down on cooking time because the marinating process tenderizes the beef as it sits in the refrigerator overnight.
You can stuff the roast with a spoonful of finely chopped herbs and vegetables or use a dried product like Zydeco Chop Chop. To rehydrate, just add the same amount of water as the dried veggies and herbs and let them sit for a few minutes. The dried product is packed with concentrated flavor and saves time from chopping. Chop Chop does it for you!
Another stuffing choice is whole pieces of garlic cloves. Slide them into the slits of meat after whacking them with a broad knife blade to release their flavor. If you like garlic, you’ll enjoy biting into these
Next, brown the roast really well in hot oil, add water, and simmer slowly until it’s tender. Don’t hurry the process! While it cooks, you can prepare the rest of the meal. Or ladies, there’s time to put your lipstick on before the company arrives. That’s what my Maw-maw Greene always said, “Now, go put ya’ lipstick on!”
Check the roast during cooking to see if additional water is needed. Add a little at a time, making sure not to dilute the flavorful juices. You may thicken the gravy with a water and cornstarch or flour mixture, but that’s not how my momma ever treated her gravy. To each his own!
Potatoes, carrots, and celery can be cooked with the meat. Add them to the pot after the meat is tender and simmer together until the vegetables are cooked. It also adds more flavor to the meat and gravy.Print
- 2 tablespoon cooking oil
- 1 3-pound chuck roast
- salt, pepper, and other seasonings to taste or use your favorite seasoning blend
- 1/4 cup dried herbs and vegetables (such as Zydeco Chop Chop) rehydrated in 1/4 cup water or 1/3 cup fresh herbs and vegetables (such as onion, celery, garlic, peppers, and parsley), finely chopped
- 4 cups water or more
- 4 medium potatoes, cut in half, optional
- 4 carrots, cut in pieces, optional
- 1 celery stalk, cut in pieces, optional
- Season roast generously, then cut slits into it and stuff with the herbs and vegetables.
- Pour oil into a large, heavy pot and heat until hot.
- Place roast into the hot oil and brown on both sides until very dark, almost burning it, leaving dark drippings in the pot.
- Add 4 cups of water or enough to cover the top of the roast.
- Bring to a boil, then turn the heat down and cover the pot to slowly simmer the roast for about 2 hours, checking to see if adding more water is needed.
- Serve or add potatoes, carrots, and celery to the top of the roast and cook until the vegetables are fork-tender, about a half-hour.
- Whole crushed garlic cloves can be used alone to stuff the roast instead of the herbs and vegetables.
- Let meat marinate in the refrigerator overnight after seasoning and stuffing for a more flavorful roast and easier prep time before your meal.
- The secret to a good gravy is browning the meat as dark as you can get it.
- After cooking, the gravy should be dark and flavorful; if it’s too thin from adding too much water then cook down the juices by itself until it’s slightly thickened.
- Gravy can be thickened more with a little water and corn starch (or flour) mixture but this is not necessary if it’s cooked correctly.
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Cook Time: 2 1/2 hours
- Category: Main Dish
- Method: Roasting
- Cuisine: Cajun
Keywords: rice and gravy
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