Fall is right around the corner and cozy comfort foods are going to be high on the dinner list. From stews to casseroles to soups, hot meals hit the spot on those cool autumn evenings. One of my all-time favorite fall meals is a dish my mom calls Red Gravy and Rice. It's a Cajun dish which, in my personal opinion, make the best comfort foods known to man. I remember coming home starving from sports practice and smelling the red gravy on the stove. I knew I wouldn't be hungry for long with this meal in the making! I made it a point to take her recipe with me when I got married, and now I make it for my husband. We both put ourselves into a food coma because neither of us can get enough of this Cajun comfort food.
This meal, however, does take a little bit of time to prepare. But, I promise, the end result is well worth the extra effort. When I can, I like to prep the meat and veggies either the day before or the morning of to save time in the evening. Once the meat and veggies are chopped the time consuming parts are simply waiting for the gravy to cook down between each step. Another option is to make the sauce in advance and freeze it until the day you want to use it. Are you ready to learn this delicious recipe? Let's give it a go!
First, prep the meat and veggies. You'll need one pound polka kielbasa sausage, one yellow onion, one green bell pepper, and two to three stalks of celery. Cut the sausage into bit size pieces. Using a food chopper or processor, finely chop the veggies.
Next, heat a deep sauce pot over medium high heat. Pour three tablespoons vegetable oil and three teaspoons sugar in the center of the pot. Stir the sugar and oil in the center of the pot continually until the sugar turns a brownish translucent color. This is your rue.
Once the rue is ready, dump the meat and veggies into the pot. Give them a gentle stir and then let them fry down. Allow them to fry down until the water cooks out of the veggies and evaporates out of the pot. Do not stir. This will take up to twenty minutes to fully fry down.
Now add about 12 ounces of water to the pot. Stir the contents of the pot to get any meat and veggies sticking to the bottom of the pot loosened so it doesn't burn. Once again, allow the veggies, meat and water to fry down without additional stirring. This will take about another twenty minutes. The water will cook down and evaporate in that time and you won't be able to see any water. (The two pictures below show it with the water and then once the water is has started to cook out.) Next add another 12 ounce glass of water and let it cook down a THIRD time (which will take up to another twenty minutes).
Once you've gone through the process of frying down the mixture three times, it's time to add the rest of the ingredients for the sauce. You will need 16 ounces tomato sauce, 2 teaspoons minced garlic, 1/2 Tablespoon ground chicken bouillon, and creole seasoning to taste (I am pretty generous with the creole seasoning in order to bring out the full Cajun taste). Add all the ingredients to the pot and mix well. Bring the sauce to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover and let simmer for about forty five minutes.
While the red gravy is simmering, cook 2 cups of rice according the the packaging instructions. Serve the gravy over the rice and with a side of crescent rolls or fresh bread for the perfect touch!
Prep Time: 15 minutes Cook Time: 1 hour 45 min Total Time: 2 hours
*Note: I use Tony's creole seasoning and am quite generous with it in order to bring out the Cajun flavor in the sauce. Use more or less according to your preference.
Whether you're looking for a quick weeknight dinner or full course meal for hosting a dinner party, I've got you covered. From healthy eats to cozy comfort foods, you'll find what your taste buds are craving!