Friday, August 5, 2011

Simple Red "Gravy"

The other night I was watching a cooking show.  The contestant made fried quail, in the style of fried chicken.  She served it with mashed potatoes and GRAVY.  You know, the white stuff she made in the skillet with the drippings, flour, milk and pepper.  Down here we call that gravy.  The judges kept commenting on her "delicious pepper sauce."  I'm yelling at the tv, "Um hello that sauce is called GRAVY.  And you are the cooking experts?"  I was telling my husband about it, mainly because I wanted him to know how much smarter I am than the culinary experts on television.  He calmly said, "You do know that up North, people call marinara sauce 'gravy' right?"  Just when I thought I was ripe for my own cooking show, he had to burst my bubble.  I like to call that stuff on the mashed potatoes gravy and that stuff on the spaghetti "sauce."  No matter where you live, or what you call it, this sauce is wonderful.  It simmers on the stove for a couple of ours and really reduces to a rich, red flavor.  The addition of red wine adds a depth of flavor that is nothing like you've had in a typical spaghetti sauce (gravy, whatever.) 
Gravy, Sauce, Whatever...

For the sake of argument, we'll call this
the "Gravy Line-Up."
Heat oil in a Dutch oven.
Add onion, garlic and green pepper.
Saute until onion is translucent.
About 5 minutes.
Stir in oregano and basil.
Add tomato paste, and stir for one minute.
Look at the thick, rich base you've created!
Add the cup of red wine. 
I used a cab, but you can
use whatever you like that's red. 
This one was begging
to be opened so I could have a glass.
Add the diced tomatoes and tomato sauce.
Add the red pepper flakes. 
The small amount does not make
the sauce spicy.  It just adds a little flavor.
Add water. 
Simmer 2-3 hours until thick and reduced.
Season with salt, pepper, parsley and sugar.
I added meatballs too.
Enjoy your Simple Red SAUCE!

Simple Red Gravy

1/4 cup olive oil
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 green pepper, diced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
6 ounces tomato paste
1 cup red wine
1 1/2 quarts water
1 (32 ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 (16 ounce) can tomato sauce
1 teaspoon hot pepper flakes
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon sugar

In a large Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat.  Add onion, garlic and bell pepper.  Cook, stirring, until the onion turns translucent, about 5 minutes.  Add oregano and basil.  Stir well.  Add tomato paste and stir for one minute.  Add the red wine and mix until well blended.  Add tomatoes, tomato sauce and red pepper flakes.  Pour 1 1/2 quarts water into the sauce and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium.  Simmer for 2-3 hours, stirring occasionally until sauce has thickened, and amount has reduced by about half.  When sauce reached desired consistency, season with salt, pepper, parsley and sugar.  Bring to a boil for one minute.  Remove sauce from heat and serve.

Prep Time:  Approximately 20 minutes     Cook Time:  Approximately 3 hours

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