A sturdy beef gravy forms the heart of this rich New Orleans style poboy sandwich.
I first tried rice & gravy at the home of Ms Linda Armentor in New Orleans. It’s a traditional Cajun dish, with it’s roots in rural Southern Louisiana, using any kind of cheap meat that requires a slow braise but nowadays more often made with beef and served over that most ubiquitous Louisiana agricultural crop, rice. Ms Linda grew up in Crowley, Louisiana, and learned the recipe from her grandmother, who spoke Cajun French and would prepare rice’n’gravy with butter beans every Sunday.
Thankfully, Ms Linda was kind enough to share her heirloom recipe with me and I’m so very glad she did. Her version uses Chuck roast – a less expensive beef cut that comes from the shoulder of the steer and can be tough, but is wonderfully rich when cooked slowly and broken down. The real secret to this recipe is a rich, dark roux. Learn how to make one here.
Although the tradition is to serve this gravy over rice, heaping a generous amount into french bread with some tart green tomatoes and creole mustard makes for a heck of a debris poboy.
Start by making the beef gravy. This can be done up to two days in advance.
Cut the meat into manageable pieces, a pat dry with a paper towel.
Combine salt, pepper, seasoning, cayenne and garlic, and sprinkle over meat, seasoning well.
Heat oil in a cast iron or enameled dutch oven (something with a heavy base), and brown the pieces of meat over high heat, working in batches to avoid overcrowding. It’s important to get good color at this stage, as the level of browning will determine the final color of the gravy.
Once the meat is cooked, remove and set aside. The pan should have lots of crusty bits at the bottom, which will all help flavor the gravy. Now add in the “trinity” (onions, bell peppers and celery) and the garlic, cooking until the onion turns translucent and stirring frequently.
Add in the beef stock and stir, then return the meat to the pot and bring the whole mixture to a rolling boil.
Reduce the heat, cover the pot and simmer on low for 2.5-3 hours, until meat is tender and easily broken down.
Once the meat is tender, add in your roux to thicken and darken the gravy .
Take one french bread section and split it down the middle, then slather mustard on one side.
Pile the beef gravy high on the bread, then layer with some tart green tomatoes.