Smothered Meat With Rice
means to "brown"
the meat with a little oil then simmer in a small amount of water to make
a brown gravy. The secret is in the "browning". Water, a vegetable
mixture and seasonings are added, and the pot is covered and slow cooked
until the meat is tender. You have to use a heavy walled cast
iron or aluminum pot so the heat is spread around and so the food will
not stick and burn. Make sure your cast iron pot is seasoned properly
so it will not stick.
You can smother just about anything. Some
meats make a nice gravy; examples would be game such as squirrel, rabbit,
wild pig, woodcock or duck, plus domestic meats such as chicken, tame duck,
liver, and fatty cuts of beef and pork. With some meats, such as
deer (venison) and lean cuts of beef and pork, it is hard to make a good
gravy. No problem, just add sliced smoked sausage, andouille (a cajun
sausage) or tasso (a cured and smoked pork) to the meat during browning
or smothering. The dish is served with the gravy poured over white
This was the everyday food on which I grew up,
and it is the first food I cooked at camp. We'd go to camp as young
teenagers and smother an old hen and have rice and gravy - darn you had
to cook that hen a long time to get it tender - but boy did it make a good
gravy ! My mother always laughed at me for smothering an old hen,
because, as everyone knows, old hens are meant for gumbos.
2 lb game or meat listed above
1/2 pound smoked sausage, andouille, or tasso
- sliced in 1 inch pieces (optional)
1 medium onion, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped
1/2 cup green onion tops, chopped
1/2 cup parsley, chopped
3-5 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tabasco or jalapeno pepper, chopped
1 tbs Worcestershire sauce
1 cup mushrooms, chopped (optional)
1 cup red cooking wine (optional)
cajun seasoning mix (homemade,
Chachere's or Zatarain's)
Browning to make the gravy:
Cut meat into pieces; season with cajun seasoning
mix (or salt and pepper), and lightly coat with flour. Add enough
oil to cover the bottom of a heavy walled cast iron or aluminum pot.
Heat the oil until very hot, but not smoking. Add the meat and brown
over high heat until deep brown and until some of the browning sticks to
the bottom of the pot.
Stir the meat frequently, and scrape the brownings
off the bottom of the pot so it will not burn. Be careful - do not
burn the meat. This step is the secret to making a rich gravy.
The heat must be high enough to boil off the water that comes out of the
meat so the meat will brown in the oil and not boil in the water.
Do not try to brown too much meat at once - brown
in smaller batches if needed.
After the meat is browned, remove from the pot and
drain off the excess grease.
Add the onion, bell pepper, garlic, hot peppers and
mushrooms (optional - add if you like mushrooms) and sauté until
wilted in the browings. Some like to add chopped celery, but I only
use celery in gumbo and dirty rice.
As the water comes out of the vegetables, scrape
the brownings off the bottom and side of the pot and mix into the liquid.
Add a small amount of water if needed to get a good mixture of the vegetables
and all the brownings dissolved.
Add the garnish:
Add the meat back to the mixture, add enough water
to cover the meat, then add the Worcestershire sauce, and red wine (optional
- add if you like a wine base).
Add cajun seasoning mix (homemade,
Chachere's or Zatarain's) to taste.
Cook with the pot covered under low heat so the mixture
simmers (lightly boils); this is where the term "smothered" comes from.
Cook for an hour, or until the meat is tender.
Do not allow the water to boil off to maintain the
gravy, but also don't add too much water or else the gravy will be watery.
When almost done, add the chopped green onion tops
Spice to Your Taste:
Serve the meat and gravy over cooked white rice.
Add Tabasco sauce and more cajun seasoning mix to
taste at the table.
At many camps, hot peppers soaking in vinegar in
an old Ketchup bottle, with a hole punched in the top, was keep on the
table, and that was a poor man's hot sauce to sprinkle on the food.