There were many favorite foods in my youth. Working in the fields was hard work. As was taking care of the horses and cows and other animals.
Frankly, pretty much everything Mom made while I was a growing Amish boy is a favorite of mine.
Tomato Gravy, A Most-favorite Food
One of my very most favorite foods was home-made tomato gravy. It is good on mashed potatoes. And it is nose-twitching delicious on Amish home-made pancakes.
While there are variations, they pretty much have the same base — tomato juice, butter, milk, and flour. And sometimes some flavor enhancements like salt and pepper.
I've used juicy diced tomatoes instead of tomato juice and I like it very much. Use less flour, though, and/or more milk.
The Original Amish Tomato Gravy Recipe
Here is a photo-copy of a tomato gravy recipe on page 7 of My Family's Recipes, a collection of 189 Amish recipes Mom had on hand, and others as collected over the years by siblings, all collated and hand written by my niece JoAnna Miller.
The recipe (and the recipe book) was meant for family. After the recipes were written (in a way that would be understandable by the family), it was decided to make them publicly available.
Let's make a few changes to the original Amish recipe so it's easier to follow and make in a modern kitchen.
Amish Tomato Gravy Recipe
Here is the recipe, revised for a modern kitchen.
Amish Recipe Tomato Gravy
(Updated for modern kitchens.)
2 tablespoons white flour (more if whole wheat or oat flour)
4 tablespoons (1/4 cup) water
1/2 cup water
1 cup tomato juice
3 teaspoons (1 tablespoon) butter
1/2 cup milk (adjust as necessary)
Salt and/or pepper to taste (optional)
In a cup or bowl, stir together the flour and the 4 tablespoons (1/4 cup) water to make a thin paste. Set aside.
Put the 1/2 cup water and the tomato juice into a saucepan over medium-high heat until it comes to a boil.
Stir the paste made in the first step to lift any flour that has settled in the bottom of the cup or bowl. Then slowly pour it into the saucepan, stirring all the while to prevent the flour from clumping up.
Let the saucepan contents return to a boil, stirring to keep it from clumping. After it comes to a boil and has a chance to thicken up a bit, turn off the heat.
Stir in the butter. Add enough milk to get a gravy of pleasant consistency.
Salt and/or pepper may be added to taste or omitted if desired or required by a diet.
You'll notice some quantities were added or adjusted, the ones an Amish cook would just know. You may wish to adjust them further according to your preference for a tomato gravy.
Use tomato gravy for pancake topping, topping on a biscuit, on mashed potatoes, on meats — pretty much anywhere that traditional gravy could be used.