Appalachian Tomato Gravy
By Sue Lau | Palatable Pastime
Appalachian Tomato Gravy is not the kind of tomato gravy you might expect for Italian gravy (as they call it Sunday Gravy, although many Italians disagree on the use of the word). This is more Southern Appalachian in nature, and definitely IS what you call a gravy.
It is a favorite for having at breakfast, especially on biscuits. Now even though my family is southern, I don’t recall having tomato gravy on biscuits. However, Daddy used to like making gravy bread, where we would put brown gravy over slices of soft pullman loaf. I loved that.
It really does come from a time when times were harder and we had to make do, especially if Daddy was laid-off when the union was on strike. And he came from depression-era Kentucky, and knew lots of things to eat when the going got tough. I am sure most families ate plenty of tomato sandwiches. Every family I knew grew tomatoes, and when the weather got hot, we had them coming out of our ears. And what we couldn’t eat right away, was put up in jars or went into the freezer.
I have had tomato gravy on meat loaf plenty of times. And loved it. Especially if there were little bits of green pepper added to that one. This particular version is best served over biscuits or on top of things like rice, pan-fried pork chops, or meat loaf. Although you can tweak the recipe to be more destination specific, like the bits of green pepper for meat loaf.
I have added ham to this, since I can, but if I were in dire straights looking to economize, I could easily leave that out and make a meal out of that with biscuits or rice. If I had to be self-sufficient, it might be the order of the day, using tons of garden tomatoes either fresh in-season or ones I put up from the year before in canning jars. But especially as a breakfast version, the ham makes it more substantial. Or you could add pork sausage or bacon instead- but being RSC, I have ingredient constraints. Otherwise I might have used a bit of milk instead of cream as well, and scaled back that water I added.
Appalachian Tomato Gravy
Yield: 6 cups tomato gravy
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 8 ounces finely diced ham
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons black pepper
- 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
- 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 1 cup water
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 2 (15 ounces each) cans crushed tomatoes
- Melt the butter in a nonstick skillet; add the onion and garlic, cooking until slightly soft before adding the ham, salt, pepper and sugar.
- Let the ham get a little bit browned, then stir in the flour to coat.
- Add the chicken broth and water, and stir over low heat until it thickens, then stir in the cream and crushed tomatoes, continuing to stir until the gravy is hot.
- Serve over split biscuits, rice, pork chops, mashed potatoes, meat loaf, whatever you like.
From the kitchen of palatablepastime.com
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