Fresh home-grown tomatoes, singed and peeled, are best to use, but home-canned tomatoes run a (very) close second. Bacon drippings are the traditional fat, and the liquid can be water, stock or milk, or combinations thereof; Bill Neale uses chicken stock or water, while Robert St. John’s recipe calls for stock and milk. If I’m using home-canned tomatoes–as I usually do, even in the summer–I always add a little juice. Traditionally served over buttermilk biscuits, rice or grits, Neale among others also recommends it for fried chicken. I use it to smother pork chops, too.
2 cups tomatoes chopped, if fresh, singed and peeled
2 tablespoons bacon drippings
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups water or broth with a little milk
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
Add salt, pepper and sugar to chopped tomatoes, and mix well. Heat bacon drippings in a skillet, add flour to make a brown roux, pour in tomatoes with water/broth/milk and cook until thickened.