Vegetable gardeners are starting to see the fruits of their labor as the summer season continues. Anyone who grows tomatoes in their garden or even indoors knows this is the fruit’s peak time of year. If you or someone you know have so many tomatoes growing that you can’t keep up with the BLTs or salads, then we found a recipe to help use up that delicious produce: tomato gravy.
This tomato gravy is not like the sauce so many of us enjoy ladled over pasta. Southerners use a different variety of tomato gravy to add a fresh, savory flavor to biscuits, meatloaf, and other regional food staples. One blogger says it’s great over cheese grits or shrimp and grits, while another fan notes that it even tastes good with peach cobbler and bread pudding.
According to The Kitchn, this version of tomato gravy has its origins in the southern U.S. The simple recipe typically has five or fewer ingredients and its rich flavor is from a combination of fresh produce, fat, and dairy. By making bumper crops of tomatoes into a gravy, gardeners/farmers could make their crop last through the off-season through canning.
The tomato gravy recipe from The Kitchn sticks to the classic, simple version of this versatile dish and uses only a few ingredients. To make this recipe, you will need diced tomatoes (either fresh or canned, so don’t worry if you don’t grow tomatoes), bacon fat or unsalted butter, heavy cream and just a few other ingredients you probably already have in your pantry.
You can get the specific ingredient quantities and full recipe at The Kitchn.
The best part about this tomato gravy is that, unlike its Italian tomato/pasta sauce cousin, this recipe doesn’t need to sit on the stove and simmer all day. With only five minutes of prep work and about 15 minutes of cooking time, you can whip up this accompaniment to a meal in no time at all. And, if you have leftovers when you’re done, the gravy can be stored in an airtight container for up to five days and reheated.
We found another variation of this popular regional recipe on Twitter thanks to The Southern Lady Cooks.
Enjoy this Southern tomato gravy over biscuits, rice or pasta. Versatile and delicious! https://t.co/IUHvSuA2GL #tomato #gravy #Southernfood #classic #oldfashioned #recipe #easyrecipes #thesouthernladycooks #Foodie pic.twitter.com/4SmpkhxSQq
— The Southern Lady Cooks (@SouthLadyCooks) August 24, 2020
While her recipe is similar as far as its quick preparation and convenience, there are some important changes. For example, you’ll use water instead of cream, remove the broth, and add other seasonings including garlic powder.
A Taste of Home contributor also offers a different take on the dish, which was a contest winner at the site. This version uses actual bacon instead of bacon fat, along with an onion and tomato juice for the liquid instead of milk or water. And over at The Spruce Eats, the recipe includes tomato paste along with actual tomatoes and garnishes the gravy with parsley. So there are plenty of variations to explore, based on what’s in your pantry or the flavors you prefer.
Check out these different versions and give them a try to see which version of the tomato gravy you enjoy more. What foods will you enjoy it with?