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Cookin' ATVS Style: Cajun Rice & Gravy

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The perfect Louisiana cooking starter kit.

Billy Gomila

Louisiana cooking means a lot of things, especially on the interwebz. People throw around terms like "Cajun" and "Creole" and "spicy" and there's rarely a lot of thought beyond that. And that can be unfortunate, because a lot of people will talk themselves into being intimidated by Louisiana cooking. Some are afraid to risk trying to make a roux because they're afraid to burn something or screw it up, and many will never even consider the seasoning because they've had beaten into their heads that seasoning = spicy, and that is of course not the case.

So how about we give you the most basic of Louisiana recipes. The staple that was probably served at least once a month in almost every table south of I-10. Rice and gravy. Meat, a little bit of flour and oil, onions, garlic and broth -- if you can't get this right, you just shouldn't cook.

Ingredients

1-2 pounds of meat, cut into chunks
1 onion, diced
3 cloves of garlic, chopped
1/4 cup vegetable oil
Flour for dusting
2 10-oz cans beef consommé
Steamed rice to serve

The beauty of a dish like this is it can work with almost any type of meat, with the exception of chicken, because there won't be enough fat content. I used venison because we had it on hand -- gamier meats are perfect for rice & gravy because the slow-braising will really break them down. Chunks of beef or pork will also do the job.

Instructions

1. Heat the oil in a large, heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat. Cast-iron is best, of course, but you want something that will retain heat.

2. Dust the meat lightly in flour -- you don't need an egg wash or anything like that, just run the meat through the flour -- then brown in the oil. You want to get a nice crust on the meat and provide just a bit of flour to mix in with the oil. You'll also want to move things around a bit to make sure nothing sticks.

3. Toss in the onions and the garlic, stir to mix well and slowly add half of one of the cans of consommé. You'll want to stir it well to mix and as everything combines into a brown paste.

4. Lower the heat to simmer and add the remainder of the can of consommé. Continue to simmer for another hour or so, slowly adding the remaining consommé in stages to maintain your preferred consistency and stirring often. You'll want to let things reduce some in order to thicken while still braising the meat and onions/garlic, but you want to at least get through both cans. If you want, you can even add a little more water or broth if you like the gravy a little lighter.

Season to taste and serve over rice and you've just made a stick-to-your ribs meal that is as authentic as any Cajun dish you've seen on any TV show. Serves 4-6.