Cajun Rice and Gravy Browning Process
First of all… Don’t Rush It. If you can just learn this upfront, you’ll never say “My rice and gravy isn’t as good as Moma’s or Grandmas”. Stir the meat frequently, and scrape the brown stuff (Grah-doo) off the bottom of the pot so it will not burn. Be careful – do not burn the meat; it’s ok if it is very dark brown. Never brown the meat so high that the bottom of the pot and the meat turns black and charcoal looking. This step is the secret to making a rich gravy. The heat must be high enough to boil off the water that comes out of the meat so the meat will brown in the oil and not boil in the water. The more you brown the meat, the darker your gravy will be. Remember…Don’t Rush It
Gradoux (grah-DOO) – Gradoux is the good stuff that gets stuck to your pot when cooking things down.
It’s essential to making a tasty gravy. Some also call this “grismies” (gree-MEEZ).
As you brown the beef and pork, it will become extremely tough and that is normal. You will face a moment of doubt and wonder how much longer will you have to cook this roast or steak. Part of the magic of a good rice and gravy is the long slow cooking. This will make the meat nice and tender…falling apart. Continue cooking the meat until it is tender.
The secret is in the “browning” and how you cook the “Holy Trinity”. You won’t see a Cajun cook use flour to thicken their gravies or use kitchen bouquet or Worcestershire Sauce to make the gravy look darker; you don’t have too! And if someone tells you they use roux in their rice and gravy…. RUN! Because they are not a Cajun and they don’t know what they are doing. When Roux is added to a dish, this becomes a gumbo, a stew or a sauce picante (a heaping tablespoon of roux is used). Although it is probably good, its not a rice and gravy.
Sides served with Rice and Gravy
Most all vegetables begin by sauteing the Holy Trinity. Once the Holy Trinity is cooked down to perfection, corn (corn mache choux), butter beans (lima beans) small field peas (petite pois), okra or blackeye peas are added to the pot and served as a side dish. If you master cooking the Holy Trinity, you’ve mastered half the battle.
Types of Meats for a Rice and Gravy
As mentioned above, the most common meats used to make a rice and gravy is beef, pork, chicken or sausage. Below lists the most common cuts of meats.
Common Beef Meats:
- Chuck Roast – Most tender
- Rump Roast
- Round Steak
- 7 Steak – Most tender
- Chuck Steak – Very tender
Common Pork Meats:
- Pork Shoulder Roast
- Pork Chop
- Pork Loin
- Pork Sirloin
- Fresh Pork Sausage with Green Onions
- Fresh Deer and Pork Sausage
Cajun Rice and Gravy Seasoning
While we can’t speak for all Cajuns, most of our dishes are usually seasoned with Slap Ya Mama Cajun Seasoning, Benoits Cajun Seasoning or Tony Chachere Cajun Seasoning. You always want a generous amount of Salt and Cajun Seasoning; I generally say “a medium layer of each”. Remember, you need enough for the gravy also and most of the time, you’ll add a little more once you’ve mastered your gravy.
Type of Cookware For Cooking Rice and Gravy
Hands down, the most important component of cooking rice and gravy is the type of cookware that is used. Cajuns use black cast iron pots and Magnalite pots for most of their dishes. You have to use a heavy walled cast iron or heavy magnetite pot so the heat is spread around and so the food will not stick and burn. Make sure your cast iron pot is seasoned properly so it will not stick. If you attempt this by using any other type of light weight pot, you’ll fail; I just want to remind you up front.
Never ever use a non-stick pot. I repeat…NO non-stick cookware. Again, please just trust me. You’ll want the meat to stick and create a sticky dark brown film at the bottom of your pot called Grah-doo. This is what helps the gravy get dark and lovely.
If you are a Cajun, you know hands down, there is only one Rice and Gravy Recipe. See the details here for Rice and Gravy Recipe.