Fewer things in this world will fall as close to any coonass kid’s heart as a steaming plate of rice and gravy. I have some friends from Breaux Bridge, LA–serious Cajun Country, that have recently made me aware that there’s a entire festival/cook-off hosted there annually where you can find what I imagine must be some of the best rice and gravy in the world. I’ve added next year’s event to my bucket list. In the meantime, whenever I get the craving, here’s one in about a million recipes (you can make this with beef, pork, poultry, seafood, wild game, or just veggies) to have it in the comfort of your own home, coonass kid or not. This is my sirloin version and it’s really delicious.
- 1.5 lbs. (or somewhere around there) sirloin steaks
- 3 stalks of celery
- 1 large or 2 small onions
- 1 bell pepper
- 3 cloves of garlic
- Mushrooms (your preference/optional)
- Cooking oil (olive oil or vegetable oil)
- 3 beef bouillon cubes or 4 cups of stock
- Dried thyme
- Garlic powder
- 2 bay leaves
- Salt, Pepper, Cayenne
- Steamed rice (duh)
The first step is to thoroughly season your steaks, front and back, with salt, pepper, garlic powder and cayenne. Then, I lightly dust them with flour, reserving the remaining flour for later in the cooking process.
I use a cast iron skillet to cook this, but you can use any large heavy-bottomed pot or deep skillet. Brown the steaks in a few tablespoons of olive or vegetable oil until dark golden on each side and set them aside on a plate to rest while you cook.
Next, finely chop the bell pepper, celery, onion and garlic and toss them into the hot pan with the meat drippings and oil. Add more oil if necessary and stir until they begin to turn translucent.
Now chop and add the mushrooms and season everything with salt, pepper, cayenne, a bit of dried thyme leaves, and a pinch more cayenne. Stir that all around for a bit until the mushrooms warm up. If you’re not a mushroom lover they can totally be left out. Mushrooms are one of my favorite foods, so I add them to everything when I have the chance. Completely your call.
As I’ve been cooking, because I didn’t have any ready-made beef stock on hand, I dissolved three beef bouillon cubes in about 4 cups of water with 2 bay leaves until it came to a low boil.
Next I added the reserved flour from the steaks, about 1/4-1/3 cup, and stirred that in to the cooking veggies, allowing it to cook for about 2-3 minutes over medium heat.
Now begin to SLOWLY pour in your hot stock. Pour about a cup, stir, allow it to incorporate, come to a simmer, and then slowly add another cup. Adding it all at once will make your gravy too thin. Nobody likes thin gravy. Nobody.
Remember those steaks that you browned earlier? Those are going back in. And all that meaty juice that’s on the plate? That’s going back in, too.
Just nestle them right back into the pot, let them get covered with gravy, turn the heat down to medium-low or a very low simmer, cover the pot and let the magic happen. It’ll take about 45 minutes to an hour, but magic WILL happen. The steaks will fall right apart with the pull of a fork and make this blissful blend of meat, mushrooms and gravy right inside that pan.
Trust me, it’s worth the wait. This picture doesn’t do it justice. Enjoy!