Here is a traditional cajun rice and gravy dish with shredded beef that you will look for excuses to make any chance you get. Though the recipe is for rice and gravy, it’s the shredded beef and gravy combo that is the star and so good it can be served on top of anything let alone rice.
The beauty of rice and gravy is that you get to greatness with some really humble ingredients. The key is not spending serious loot on ingredients, but it’s all about time, patience, and nurturing what you have. No different than parenting. Don’t bother looking around for quick ways to make this shredded beef dish. This ain’t that type of recipe. If you want it on a busy weeknight then make it on a Sunday and let it sit a few days in the fridge until you’re ready to indulge. The extra wait time actually makes the rice and gravy mo better.
What is Cajun Rice and Gravy
Rice and gravy is a popular cajun dish. The name ‘rice and gravy’ doesn’t really tell the whole story of the recipe. Meat is ‘silent’, omitted or assumed as the main ingredient. Big pieces of pork or beef or even sausage or chicken are commonly slow-cooked with a few other simple ingredients to render a flavorful gravy that is then used to top a bowl/plate of white rice for a hearty and comforting main dish.
Cajun Rice and Gravy with Shredded Beef Inspiration
The first time I had the beef version of was at my favorite local Austin food truck LA1 Cajun Po Boys. They serve a mean Roast Beef Po Boy with debris as well as roast beef fries which are traditional French fries topped with slow-cooked beef and gravy. Afterward, I started playing with my own recipes for the beef and gravy. In my research, I learned that ‘rice and gravy’ was a thing.
Rice and Gravy Ingredients
Holy Trinity – Onion, Bell Peppers, Celery
Quick Way To Make A Dark Roux
Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Combine 1 cup of fat and 2 cups of flour in a cast iron dutch oven and mix well. Add roux to the oven and bake until you achieve desired color. You may need to check and stir every 15-20 minutes until browned.
How To Make Rice and Gravy
No need to complicate things, just:
- Season and brown the meat
- Saute your vegetables
- Simmer the meat until super tender
- Make and add your roux
Cajun Spice Seasoning Mix Ingredients
You can use a store-bought Cajun seasoning mix for this recipe, but I prefer to make my own, as I find may of the store ones are really salt heavy. If making your own be sure to use good smoked paprika. Adjust the amount of cayenne to your heat preference.
What is Best beef cut for this Rice and Gravy recipe
Tougher cuts actually work the best. You won’t lean cuts with high amounts of collagen. Collagen breaks down into gelatinous tender meat when cooked slowly in any type of braising liquid.
For me this means choosing a chuck roast or beef round for the slow braising to get to that tender shredded beef consistency this dish requires. I’m partial to chuck roasts which fall under many different names including chucker shoulder pot roast, chuck 7-bone pot roast, shoulder steak or boneless chuck roast.
How to make cajun rice and gravy
I pretty much take a pot roast approach to this recipe. For me, this means cooking the beef at a low temperature for a long time until the meat gets really tender and easily breaks down into shreds. What makes this dish cajun is the roux, the holy trinity, and the cajun spice seasonings.
- Cut the beef into large chunks
- To start heat oil on medium heat in a dutch oven pot and brown the meat. Make sure to brown long enough to develop a nice crust on each side of the beef. The crusty bits will stay behind in the pot and add flavor, character and that dark color to the gravy.
- Add the holy trinity of vegetables plus garlic and sauce. Don’t mind the crusty bits much, as you’ll deglaze the pan in the next step.
- Add beef stock, paste, and Worcestershire sauce scraping the bits up and stirring as necessary.
- Return the meat to the pot and slow cook either in the oven or on the stovetop for a few hours. Be patient it will take time. Just be cool, believe in the process, and let it cook until the breakdown occurs. If using on stovetop make sure you cook at a low simmer covered with a heavy lid. For the oven version cook at no higher than 325 degrees.
- Add your roux and mix in well. The longer you cook the thicker the dish will be, so don’t fret if initially, you don’t see the preferred consistency. Just keep cooking to reduce the liquid. Serve over rice.
Cajun Rice and Gravy Cooking Tips
- The more you brown the meat, the darker the gravy.
- This is not a recipe for non-stick pans. You’ll actually want that good browning including the crusty bits left behind in the pan.
- More onions equal stickier gravy
- To save your forearms, bake your roux in the oven
- Season every step of the way with the homemade cajun spice mix
- Season the beef ahead of time
- Season the holy trinity during sautéing
- Season the stock right before adding the beef back to the pot
- Note if you’re using store-bought, be mindful of the salt content and don’t use too much as this dish will be overly salty
Making Cajun Rice and Gravy with Shredded Beef
Without a doubt, this is one of the best shredded beef recipes you’ll ever have. The beef alone is ridiculous, but the gravy is over the top greatness. Make plenty tor leftovers. Make sliders, eat with more rice, or use it with pasta, fries or po’ boys.
If you make this rice and gravy version, please come back and leave me a comment below with your feedback. Definitely take a photo of the dish and be sure to tag #foodfidelity so that I can see them.
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- 2 lb chuck roast
- 3 tbsp cajun seasoning mix
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- 1 yellow onion chopped
- 1 green bell pepper chopped
- 1 red bell pepper chopped
- 3 cloves garlic finely chopped
- 2 stalks celery chopped
- 1/4 cup tomato paste
- 4 cups beef stock 32oz
- 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1 cup dark roux
- Cut the meat into manageable pieces, a pat dry with a paper towel.
- Season beef with about 1 tbsp of cajun seasoning and let rest.
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Note if you prefer to use stovetop instead just cook the beef at a low simmer after browning.
- Heat oil in a dutch oven and brown the pieces of meat over medium-high heat, working in batches to avoid overcrowding. Brown them well to get that dark gravy for later. Remove and set aside
- Add the onions, green and red peppers, garlic, and celery to the pot. Don’t worry about the crusty bits at the bottom of the pot. They are a good thing and will add flavor to the gravy. Stir vegetables 3-4 minutes seasoning with 1/2 tbsp cajun seasoning.
- Add in the tomato paste stirring to mix well 1-2 minutes. Add beef stock, 1 tbsp cajun seasoning and Worcestershire and stir, then return the meat to the pot and bring the whole mixture to a rolling boil.
- Turn off the heat. Cover the pot and using towels transport pot to the oven and bake for 2.5-3 hours, until meat is tender and easily broken down.
- Once the meat is fork tender remove from oven. Remove lid and using two long forks shred the beef. Add the roux to darken and thicken the gravy.
- Serve over a bowl of rice, a plate of French fries, or as a beef debris po’ boy