Grits and Hash

From our travels to the south, one of the things we fell in love and brought back with us to the northeast are Grits. What’s not to love about a warm gooey buttery bowl of stick to your ribs goodness? Having grown up in Southern India, I find there are several similarities between southern food in general that tend to be spicy, hearty and just the definition of comforting soul food. With a dash of hot sauce, grits are the go to breakfast for my savory southern palette. With some simple scrambled egg whites and crispy oven fried potatoes, black pepper grits hits the spot every single time.

This recipe is a combination of several techniques and methods that are out there. After several trials, I have found that these quantities and cooking times work perfectly every single time for making perfectly creamy grits.

Grits – Ingredients
Serves 4

1 cup coarse stone ground old fashioned grits (I do not use quick cooking or instant. Nothing beats the texture and flavor of stone ground corn)
2 cups milk
2 cups water
2 tsp coarse kosher salt
1/2 tsp freshly cracked black pepper
4 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
Optional: your favorite type of cheese – cheddar, american or parmesan. You can even make it extra cheesy by adding all three. Stirring in the cheese in the end makes this cheese grits, my version were just simple salt and pepper grits.

Grits – Method

Place the milk, water, and salt into a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Once the milk mixture comes to a boil, gradually add the grits while continually whisking.

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Keep whisking over medium-high heat and you will notice that the grits start absorbing the liquid and start thickening gradually.

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When you notice it has started thickening a little, decrease the heat to low and cover.

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Remove lid and whisk frequently, every 3 to 4 minutes, to prevent the grits from sticking to the bottom. Cook for 30-35 minutes until the mixture is creamy. Add 4 tbsp of butter, and the black pepper and mix well, cook another 5 minutes while whisking.

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If you are making cheese grits, now would be the time to remove from the heat and add the shredded cheese, to whisk well and melt into the grits.

Serve the grits with more freshly cracked pepper and a dab of butter. Optionally, a dash of hot sauce also makes a perfect condiment.

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Oven Roasted Potatoes – Ingredients
Serves 4

4 large Idaho potatoes, thoroughly scrubbed and washed
2 tbsp canola oil
1 tsp coarse kosher salt

Oven Fried Potatoes – Method

Preheat the oven to 400F.

Chop potatoes (skin on) into 1 1/2 inch pieces. Leaving the skin on makes these crispy on the outside and creamy and smooth on the inside.

Line a large baking sheet with foil and spray liberally with non stick spray. Add the potatoes and the oil on the baking sheet and mix well until all the potatoes are coated well. Spread the potatoes on the baking sheet evenly.

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Bake on the top rack of the oven for 20 minutes. Take the tray out and toss the pieces so the other side can start crisping up. Return to the oven to roast for another 15 minutes.

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Remove from the oven and sprinkle the salt over. Mix well and serve hot.

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For today’s breakfast, I served  black pepper grits with roasted potatoes and scrambled egg whites.

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