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Southern Tomato Gravy


This differs from the original recipe. This is the way we ate it when I was growing up. One of my favorite gravies or sauces. We would put browned hamburger patties in the sauce and let them simmer. Did not put canned stewed tomatoes or sugar in the recipe when we were growing up because that was to us stewed tomatoes, completely different.

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  • 2 tablespoons margarine
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 onion, cut in slices and slices cut in half sauteed until translucent with the butter or margarine
  • 1/2 cup milk or creamer or chicken stock (I prefer the chicken stock)
  • 1 teaspoon sugar (optional) I like it savory.
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • pinch cayenne
  • 15-ounce can whole tomatoes or whole plum tomatoes squished


Preparation time 20mins
Adapted from


Step 1

Get out your cast iron skillet again. Heat the margarine or oil over medium heat. Add onions, saute until translucent. Stir in the flour with a whisk until it is lump free. Let simmer for a moment or two, to toast the flour just a little bit, and then remove from heat, and stir in the half cup milk, a little at a time.

Put back on the burner, stir and bring to a boil, it will thicken considerably, and very fast. You’ll be left with a very thick mixture. Remove from heat, add the sugar and seasonings, whisking continuously, then slowly add the juice from the tomatoes. Put back on heat and simmer (very gentle boil).

In a bowl, smash the tomatoes with a fork or your hands. This gravy is not smooth so do not worry about completely smashing them. The lumpy tomatoes are actually what give it the characteristic texture.

Once gravy has come to a good simmer, add the tomatoes and the juice in the can.

Bring back to a medium simmer (but don't let it boil hard) and stir with whisk for 3 to 5 minutes until gravy thickens.

*(optional: several tablespoons of nutritional yeast, whisked in at the end, are particularly delicious if you like that sort of thing.)

**(optional: A big of bacon or sausage grease is really good here too.

Serve over toast, biscuits, whatever.

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