Smothered Meat With Rice and Gravy

"Smothered" 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 rice. 
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)
  • flour

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. 
Sauté Vegetables:
  • 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 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. 
Add the garnish: 
  • When almost done, add the chopped green onion tops and parsley.
  • Serve the meat and gravy over cooked white rice. 
Spice to Your Taste: 
  • 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.
©David Wm. Reed