Biscuits & Gravy (Tomato Gravy)

The term "tomato gravy" comes from the Florida Crackers' version of Red-Eye Gravy with tomatoes and a roux added.  Red-Eye Gravy is typically made from the drippings of the ham and a little coffee mixed (1:1 ratio).  the following recipe combines the best of it all.  


5 Tablespoons salted Butter
1/4 cup flour
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup canned tomatoes with 1/4 cup of their liquid
1/4 cup coffee (OPTIONAL)
Salt & Pepper


(1)  In a medium size saute pan, brown Smithfield Country Ham slices over medium heat, turning as needed.  Cook the ham until both sides have a nice brown "crust", and the pan shows a little brown on the bottom.  Remove ham when done, to warm plate.

(2) Add the butter to the pan, and melt over medium heat until the foam is gone.  While the butter is melting, scrape the bottom of the pan lightly to remove anything left in the pan from the ham (don't worry of you don't get much stuff fro the bottom of the pan, it will all come off later in the process).

(4)  Add a 1/4 cup of flour to the melted butter, stirring as you add it.  (Yes,you are making a roux...).  Brown the flour in the melted butter until it is light brown, just cooking the flour, making sure that no lumps remain.

(5)  Add 1/2 cup of water to the roux, and mix well - scraping the bottom of the pan to be sure that everything is integrated into the liquid. The water will evaporate fast, so don't be afraid to add more water to achieve the consistency that you want from your gravy.

(6)  Add 1/3 cup canned tomatoes that have been rough chopped, along with 1/4 cup of the tomato liquid from the can.

(7)  Add a scant 1/4 cup of coffee here if you wish to use it.   Cook for 3-5 minutes, mashing the tomatoes with a wooden spoon - you want the tomatoes to be well incorporated into the gravy, but not pureed.  

Salt and Pepper to taste - I like LOTS of coarse ground black pepper in this !

Adjust consistency as needed by adding water or increasing heat - depending on whether your gravy is too thin or too thick for your taste.

PRO TIP:  Once you have cooked the flour to the desired degree of "brown-ness" (remember, you just want to cook the "raw" taste out of the flour), its all about achieving the consistency you want - so just add water if its too thick, and turn up the heat if its too thin. Don't sweat it from this point.

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