Monday, May 21, 2012

Hot Dang-Tomato Gravy

Growing up, I used to hear all the time about my grandmother's tomato, or "Red Eye" gravy. My mom says it was her absolute favorite thing, especially over steamed white rice. Of course, not long after I arrived Mom declared war on all (food) things white, so I had never actually tasted the infamous dish.

Until now.

I have no way of knowing if this is the recipe my grandmother (and great, and great-great, etc) used, but based on an Internet investigation it would appear that there's pretty much only one tomato gravy. And everybody makes it the same. Pretty much. So now "close enough" counts in horseshoes, hand grenades, and tomato gravy.

"Red Eye" Tomato Gravy

Biscuits, Fools!  or white rice, dependin'
 6 slices of your favorite Bacon
4 T all-purpose flour
3 cups of diced canned tomatoes, left undrained
3 cups of diced fresh tomatoes, with enough water just to cover
1/4 cup minced white onion
Splash of milk or cream, if desired

Fry bacon, remove and set aside on a paper towel.

Bacon frying is a bit of a skill, so here's how I've done it (and gotten good results):
Place first round of bacon in COLD pan, put pan on burner, and heat to medium. Cook bacon on one side until sizzling dies down, then flip. The second side will take much less time, and I cook bacon by sound so I'm afraid I can't provide legitimate cooking times. 

Go with somewhere between 30 seconds and 2 hours. It's in there. 

Fry your onions in the bacon drippings until tender and browned, then remove with a slotted spoon and set aside on a paper towel.

 Add flour to hot bacon grease, and stir continually with a wire whisk until you reach "Brown Roux" (pictured here).

Roux 101:
When you first add the flour and start whisking, the stuff will look like complete and lumpy crap. You'll think you've messed up. You haven't, but if you don't whisk constantly your roux will burn and then you'll have to scrap the whole sh'bang. There is noooo saving a burned roux.

Burned roux looks like good roux, except with tiny, seemingly-harmless little black specks of doom. If you see these, go ahead and weep. None will judge.

While whisking, add tomatoes, onions, and crumbled bacon (if desired). Simmer for 3-4 minutes, until desired thickness is reached. If it's too thick at this point, you can add a little water.

If using fresh tomatoes, simmer about 5 minutes longer.

At this point I like to add a little milk to my gravy, just to smooth things out. 

This is totally optional, and the amount is up to your preference.

You did it! Now go lick some stuff.


Karen W. said...

Yay! Glad you got to try it!!! And if I knew Mike's face would look like that after he got a "lickin'" of it, then I'd go make some right now :)

Michal said...

Haha thanks! And I'm sure it would look EXACTLY like that. Except...with a beard.

Bonnie B. said...

seems like i was unclear on one important detail...biscuits AND white rice!

Michal said...

Ohhhh....that's a blood sugar spike of a different color...

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