One of my fondest memories is my grandpa Larry teaching me how to make tomato gravy; for him, it was the ideal meal! After my sister Brittyn and I spent the evening at his house, looking at old photographs and laughing at the memories, he announced that we were making tomato gravy and biscuits for dinner. The lesson began; I carefully listened and followed his directions to create first the brown roux and then the actual tomato gravy. The gravy was so good ladled over a hot, fluffy biscuit fresh from the oven. It soaked into the feathery softness of the biscuit, lending a creamy goodness to every bite. Keeping to the tradition of tomato gravy–making, I created my own version, enhancing the flavor with garlic and retaining the rich, creamy taste while losing much of the oil.
1/4 cup canola oil
1/3 cup self-rising or all-purpose flour
1/4 cup diced yellow onions or Vidalia onions
1 cup water
1 (28-ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes
1 clove garlic, minced
3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
Heat the oil in a 12-inch cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Stir in the flour until smooth. Increase the heat to medium-high, and cook until the flour mixture turns dark brown, stirring constantly.
Reduce the heat to medium. Add the diced onions and water. Stir until combined.
Drain the canned tomatoes, reserving 1⁄ 2 cup of the tomato juice. Add the reserved tomato juice, tomatoes, garlic, and salt to the skillet. Stir until combined. With the back
of a spoon press against the tomatoes to break them into pieces. Cook for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season to taste with salt. Serve warm with Olive Oil Biscuits (see recipe on page 5 of New Southern Table).
Makes 5 to 7 servings.