M: “One person’s tomato sauce is another’s tomato gravy,” states the submitter of this recipe. Ain’t it the truth. As my partner here at the Skillet will tell you, in the South, pretty much anything you put on top of food is going to be called gravy. Now consider that the submitter is of Sicilian descent. As much as we equate tomato sauce with Italian cuisine, many Italian-Americans don’t call it sauce. Right. They also call it gravy. So in this case, one person’s gravy is going to be another person’s gravy. Now cook it up with a New Orleans sensibility and we’re talking Creole. Works for me.
I don’t want to get *too* bogged down on the language here. We’ve got some cooking to do. But I am going to acknowledge that I’ve never had a firm grasp on the difference between Cajun and Creole. Both have an element of heat and roots in Louisiana. I’ve always tended to think of Cajun food to be “food of the people” and Creole to be a little more fancy pants. Beyond that, it gets a bit blurry for me. I suspect somewhere near Slidell, an email is already being crafted, demanding an apology for my ignorance. You’ve got it.
So Creole Red Gravy. First and as always, you can’t go wrong building a recipe on a foundation of bacon grease. Second, tomato *anything* is a win in my book, so we are already ahead of the game. This was not only a pleasure to eat, it was a pleasure to make. Each step felt like adding a new, distinct layer to both flavor and texture and finished off with enough heat to keep your attention. It has presence. This is more than your run-of-the-mill pasta sauce, although it does great in that capacity. It’s also good with pretty much anything else you can thing of.
Recipe: Creole Red Gravy
Summary: Sauce, salsa, sugo or gravy with a New Orleans sensibility. Call it what you like, I’m on board. From The Southern Foodways Alliance Community Cookbook
- ¼ c Bacon Grease
- ¼ cup Flour
- 1 Medium Onion, finely chopped
- 1 Clove Garlic, minced
- 2 Stalks Celery, finely chopped
- 1 Green Bell Pepper, finely chopped
- 1 tsp Dried Thyme
- 3 (15-ounce) Cans Tomato Sauce
- ¼ c Parsley, finely chopped
- 1 tsp Hot Sauce
- Salt and Pepper
- Heat bacon grease in a large pot over medium-high heat.
- Whisk in flour until it begins to brown (5-7 minutes).
- Stir in onion and cook until it begins to soften (5 minutes).
- Stir in garlic, celery, bell pepper, and thyme and cook until all begins to soften (about 10 minutes).
- Stir in tomato sauce, reduce heat and cook, partially uncovered, until thickened (about an hour).
- Stir in parsley.
- Season with hot sauce, salt and pepper.
- Serve hot.
Originally: Creole Red Gravy