This summer was different that all other summers. First of all, we had a baby in our arms most of the summer. And every weekend we would take our little guy to the Farmers Market with us to enjoy the great community of food and friends there. We made it a habit to hit up Dottie’s Biscuit Barn (a new food cart at the market) every chance we got. When Andy, the owner and creator of Dottie’s, came up with a Tomato Gravy, we jumped at the chance to get a recipe, using up some of the beautiful heirloom tomatoes from Liberty Heights Fresh.
Dottie’s Biscuit Barn is everything we love about the Salt Lake City food scene. Andy’s story is charming, son of a professional chef father and genuine hostess mother, with his desire to begin a modest business using the strength of the community around him. And he is super zealous about what he does, staying up into the wee hours Friday nights after his full time job, to bake biscuits and create new gravies to share with the city come Saturday morning. When we can, we exchange with him and his crew some freshly brewed coffee for warm biscuits as the market kicks off. Every time we see the barn rolling in, we know it’s going to be a good Saturday!
These are the things we will miss about this summer, from the regular hello from our friends who make hummus, to the taste of fresh jam on the North end of the market. And oh… those biscuits. We will be dreaming of them until they come again next year. And until tomatoes are out of season, I’ll be stirring up batches of this inventive gravy to enjoy with whatever I we can – spaghetti squash, polenta, grits, and of course biscuits!
A Southern-Style recipe for Tomato Gravy by Dottie's Biscuit Barn in Salt Lake City.
- 3-4 large ripe heirloom tomatoes (about 2.5 lbs), skins removed
- 1 tablespoons butter
- 1/2 large yellow onion, finely chopped
- 1 anaheim or similarly mild-medium heat pepper
- 1 sweet peppers (i use yellow and green to add color, or whatever is coming in from the garden)
- .5 jalapeno or more intense pepper (serrano or cayenne could work too)
- 2 cups vegetable stock
- 1/2 tablespoon salt
- 1/2 tablespoon smoked paprika
- 3/4 teaspoon cracked pepper
- 1/2 tablespoon fresh oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon chili flakes (depending on what peppers you used in the sauté)
- 1/2 cup rue (1/4 cup butter and 1/4 cup flour)
- salt and pepper to taste
- Prepare a large sauce pan with boiling water, cut a small X in the bottom of each tomato and drop them in for a couple minutes, remove to an ice bath and peel the skins after a minute or two in the ice water.
- Once peeled, take the firmest tomatoes and dice them up. The softer ones (depends on varietal and ripeness), cut up as best as possible or just crush by hand and save for adding to sauté.
- I like a nice chunky gravy, so I medium dice the onion and peppers. Its a matter of preference, but with fresh ingredients that I or my friends have grown, its nice to know what you're eating with each bite.
- Put 1 tablespoon of butter or other cooking fat (bacon lard would work great too!) into a large saute pan and add onions and peppers. Saute till onions are translucent and begin to caramelize...the more brown the better!
- Add the bulk of my spices (salt, pepper, crushed red pepper, smoked paprika, oregano) in at this point, give the mixture a quick stir and then add half of the tomatoes (using the crushed and/or roughly cut tomatoes first). Let the tomato juice deglaze the pan, (you could use touch of red wine at this point as well!) Once the tomatoes have come up in heat, add in the 2 cups of vegetable stock and allow the sauce to come up to boil, reduce heat slightly and allow the sauce to gently boil for half hour. Give the sauce time to reduce down a touch and naturally thicken.
- Adjust your spices as needed during this time, at the end of this reduction add in the other half diced tomato (not including their juices). This will preserve the "chunk" of the tomato gravy. The tomatoes you started the boil with have become stewed and lost a lot of that texture.
- Melt the butter or lard and then stir in the flour in batches, use a whisk and stir vigorously. The longer you "cook" the rue, the less thickening properties (starch) it will have in your sauce. The french have all sorts of classifications for these cook times, however, the longer you cook the rue, the more flavors will come out. Once the flour is incorporated, I cook for about 2-3 minutes on medium heat, constantly stirring. Save the rue, it keeps for a long time.
- This is a butter and flour rue, but if you want to make this gluten free you could use a cornstarch slurry, tapioca flour, etc...
- Slowly add the rue to the tomato sauce and allow time for it to thicken. If you add too much, you can thin it with more vegetable stock.
- Get out your biscuits, grits, polenta, spaghetti squash, etc!!
Tomatos for this recipe are from Liberty Heights Fresh.