Start a new tradition on Christmas Eve!

Dec 19, 2017

I have friends that boil fresh lobsters every Christmas Eve.

Credit Justin Fox Burks


Another family makes their Grandma’s homemade ravioli. And other friends just always go out to dinner to a Chinese restaurant.

The holidays are a time for family and fun … so you need to find a tradition that works for your family.

We always go to an early evening church service on Christmas Eve and when we come home we are hungry! So I have to have something ready to re-heat.  My grandmother always served her Creole Grillades for special family occasions, so I now do the same!  This braised dish can be made a day in advance and also freezes really well.

Grillades (pronounced “Gree-yades”) are the Creole version of pot roast. Thin cuts of beef or veal are slow cooked in a flavorful tomato sauce.  My grandmother used thinly sliced beef round steaks, so that’s what I use as well.

The recipe is very simple. First you cut the round steak into 2-inch medallions and then you sear the meat until nicely browned. Chopped onion, bell pepper, celery, oregano, thyme, and bay leaves are then added to the pot and sautéed until soft. Then add canned tomatoes, tomato paste, and water and bring the sauce to a boil before covering and popping in the oven for about 2 hours.

You can have it cooking while you are at church or you can make it earlier in the day or the night before.

In Louisiana, grillades are most often served over creamy grits.  My family also serves them spooned over a bed of white rice. Both are delicious.

This is Jennifer Chandler with The Weekly Dish. Merry Christmas!

Grillades

Grillades (pronounced “Gree-yades”) are the Creole version of pot roast. Thin cuts of beef or veal are slow cooked in a flavorful tomato sauce.  In Louisiana, they are most often served over creamy grits.  My family also serves them spooned over a bed of white rice.

  • 2 thinly sliced round steaks (about 1 pound each)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup diced yellow onion (1 large onion)
  • 1 cup diced green bell pepper (1 large pepper)
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced celery (1 stalk)
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 can (28-ounce) whole tomatoes
  • 1 can (6-ounce) tomato paste
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 1/2 cups carrots cut on the bias about 1/2-inch thick (4 to 6 carrots)

Trim the fat off the meat and cut into 2-inch square medallions. Generously season the meat with salt and pepper.

In a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium–high heat, warm the oil until a few droplets of water sizzle when carefully sprinkled in the pot. In two batches as to not crowd the pan, cook the meat, turning, until nicely browned, about 10 minutes. Transfer the meat to a plate. Drain all but about 1 tablespoon of fat from the pot.

To the pot, add the onion, bell pepper, celery, oregano, thyme, and bay leaves.  Lower the temperature to medium-low and cook, stirring often, until very soft, about 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, and water. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Return the meat to the pot and add the carrots. Bring the sauce to a boil over high heat, lower the heat to medium-low, and simmer, covered, until the meat is very tender, about 2 hours.

Serve warm over grits or rice.

Cooking Tip: The technique of braising can turn the toughest cut of meat into a dish so tender you can cut it with a fork.

Recipe reprinted with permission from The Southern Pantry Cookbook by Jennifer Chandler.