Just think about it: The deep, dark onion gravy suspends fall-apart tender beef that drapes across a mountain of long-grain white rice; it is an ascent into the heavens of Cajun cooking. Seven steak (sometimes called seven-steak étouffée) is a classic of rural Cajun recipes, and you can find it on most dinner tables and lunchroom steam tables alike. It’s simple; it’s simply heavenly.
I decided to uncomplicate the Cajun recipe for this down-home standard with an eye toward simplicity in the list of ingredients and instructions. With only seven ingredients and a minimum of instructions, I’ve made it about as easy as a Cajun recipe can be.
First off, find a source for this cut of meat; it’s an inexpensive center cut of bone-in chuck called a 7-bone pot roast since the bone is shaped like the number 7. Have the butcher cut it into steaks that are ½” to ¾” thick. When I say “steaks,” don’t mistake this for a cut of meat that you can grill like t-bone or ribeye. No, this is a tough cut of meat that needs a long braise in liquid or what a Cajun recipe refers to as “smothering.”
I like my seven steak with the bone left in, which might take a little more searching since many contemporary big-city butchers like to remove the bone. Surprisingly, I found mine already pre-cut at Shopper’s Value supermarket in Lafayette. But mostly, I’ve seen it with the 7 bone left intact in rural groceries and meat markets where they cater to a more down-home Cajun and Creole customer that appreciates the flavor that cooking on-the-bone brings to the pot.
And the onion gravy brings it all together. With spicy seasonings and a scoop of my wife’s deep, dark Rox’s Roux, it’s the long smother in a black iron pot that produces the “gravy of the gods.” Rich, earthy beefsteak cloaked in this hearty onion gravy is just begging for a heaping portion of white rice. Break out the yeast rolls and pour a glass of sweet tea, this smothered seven steak is home-style Cajun cooking at its best.
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2½ pounds seven steaks, bone-in
- 1 tablespoon Acadiana Table Cajun Seasoning Blend, see recipe here
- 3 large yellow onions
- 6 cups beef stock or water
- 3 tablespoons dark roux, see recipe here
- Kosher salt, to taste
- 6 cups cooked long-grain white rice, such as Supreme, for serving
- In a large cast-iron skillet (or pot) with a heavy lid over medium-high heat, add the oil. Sprinkle the seven steaks with Cajun seasoning and place in the hot grease, searing both sides until browned. Cook in batches until all are browned and remove to a platter.
- Peel and rough chop one onion and slice the other two into rings. Add the onions and sauté until browned, and add the stock along with the roux, stirring to combine.
- Add the seven steaks back to the skillet and cover. Lower the heat to simmer and cook on the stovetop for approximately 2 hours or until the meat is fork tender and the gravy thickens.
- Taste the gravy and add salt to taste. Serve over a mound of white rice (or mashed potatoes).
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