Sunday, March 8, 2009
Sacrilegious Grits (I.E. Creamy Grits with Pecorino, Peppers, and Sauteed Onion)
Bringing up grits around southern people is like bringing up politics or religion. Their policy on the matter is unwavering and steadfast, whether it be their devout belief in using stone ground, their conviction that adding anything but butter is getting into bed with the devil, or the principle that grits are to be eaten before noon or not at all.
I am actually a bad southerner in the fact that I use instant grits, I like to add 'high- falutin' ingredients like olive oil and goat cheese, and prefer to eat mine for dinner instead of breakfast. Hell, I even like to add processed cheese to them when I make jalapeno cheese grits...oh the sacrilege!
Luckily, like pasta or polenta or any other easy going starchy side dish, there are any number of ways to make grits taste so much more worldly and exciting than their lowly farmer roots. If you've ever been to Atlanta, you know exactly what I mean. The restaurants there do more things with grits than I could dream up in a lifetime, and they're all delicious.
This happens to be one of my favorite ways to serve them, at dinner, sitting at my unruly table.
Creamy Grits with Pecorino, Peppers, and Sauteed Onion
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/3 cup chopped onion
salt and pepper
1/3 cup chopped Piquillo peppers, drained, or roasted bell peppers from a jar, drained
2 oz goat cheese (or cream cheese)
1/4 cup grated Pecorino cheese
Juice from the drained peppers, combined with enough low sodium chicken stock to equal 3 cups
3/4 cup instant grits
Heat a heavy bottomed sauce pot (medium sized) over medium heat. Add the olive oil, letting heat through for one minute, then add the onion, seasoning with salt and pepper. Saute, stirring every so often for about 5 minutes, until softened. Remove from heat and transfer (with the oil and residual juice) to a small bowl.
Meanwhile, add the pepper juice/chicken stock to the sauce pan and heat over high heat, bringing to a boil. Once boiling, add the grits, lower the heat to low/medium, bringing it down to a simmer. You want to watch your grits carefully at this point, stirring frequently to prevent the bottom from burning, and keeping an eye on the heat. If they're spitting at you too spitefully, turn your burner to the lowest setting or remove from the heat for a few seconds. They'll need a few minutes to thicken and absorb the liquid. Once they've puffed and lost they're runniness (but before they get hard to stir), add the peppers, goat cheese, onions, and Pecorino. Stir through to allow the cheeses to melt and meld. Taste for salt and pepper, and serve warm.