True Grits

Smoked Tomato Blue Cheese Grits

I could eat these grits every night of the week! But I don’t, for the following reasons:

1. I would have to buy new clothes to accommodate the gluttony.

2. Harper would get bored making the same thing all the time.

3. A few years ago when we were in Colorado for a family vacation, I saw several skulls of Indians (in a museum) whose diet consisted primarily of ground corn. Their teeth were ground down to nubs due to the grit of the corn. I don’t want my teeth to look like that.

“GRIIIIIIITS!”

These aren’t just any ol’ grits. In fact, if you make these, be prepared to be disappointed in most other grits recipes/dishes that you try–even when you visit a region like the Low Country, which is famous for their grits. I’m just warning you. They are that good.

blue cheese, Parmesan cheese, and yellow stone ground cornmeal

I (half joking) told Harper to stir it really fast so I could get a motion blur shot. This is him looking at me like I’m crazy, saying, “I can’t stir it really fast–it’ll go everywhere!”

 

This was when he realized that I had been (half) joking about stirring it really fast.

 

This is me getting a motion blur shot without him even knowing it.

 

This recipe is from Fired Up!: More Adventures & Recipes from Hudson’s on the Bend by Jeff Blank. We love Chef Blank’s culinary style, and I just wish we could eat at his restaurant (at Lake Travis) more often. We went to one of his cooking classes a few years ago, and it was a great experience. You can read about it/see more pics on my blog or in Texas LIVE Magazine

 

Ingredients

2 pints cherry tomatoes
6 slices bacon, 1/4″ diced (Harper uses mesquite smoked bacon)
1 small onion, 1/4″ diced
1/4 cup garlic, minced
2 chipotle peppers en adobo sauce, 1/4″ diced
6 cups whole milk
1 1/2 cup Quick Cook grits (Harper uses yellow stone-ground corn meal instead–we highly recommend this change)
1 cup blue cheese, crumbled–the stronger, the better (H uses Amish blue cheese, which is strong)
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
salt and pepper (don’t salt until the cheese has melted into the sauce since the cheese is salty)

 

chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, minced garlic, diced onions

Harper took a couple of pics with his phone while I was getting Tice ready for bed. (Thanks, honey!)

bacon, onions, peppers, and garlic

Directions

1. Smoke tomatoes in your stovetop smoker for approximately 10-12 minutes. (H just roasts them in the oven with salt, pepper, and olive oil for about 15 min @ 400°. He uses the mesquite smoked bacon to make up for the loss of smoky flavor.)

2. Cook the bacon in a heavy bottom sauce pot. Some folks drain the bacon. (H doesn’t.)

3. When the bacon is crispy, add the onions, garlic, and chipotles.

4. Pour in the milk and bring to a simmer.

5. Add tomatoes.

6. Gradually pour in grits and stir well. (You don’t want lumpy grits!)

7. Reduce heat and stir occasionally.

8. Cook approximately 10 to 15 minutes, or until the grits are no longer gritty.

9. Remove from heat and stir in the cheeses.

10. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.

 

Technical details:

Lighting: Tungsten lights in the kitchen (it was dark outside, so no natural light).

Camera: Nikon D300

First shot of the bowl of prepared grits:
ISO 1000,  52 mm (zoom lens),  f4.2,  1/15 sec (Note: I put my elbows on the counter to stabilize the camera for the slow shutter speed.)

All other shots:
ISO 1000,  85 mm lens,  f1.8,  1/60 sec (Note: I had to back up and take most of the shots from in the utility room to get everything I wanted in the shot.)

Let me know if you try the grits!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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3 Responses to True Grits

  1. Love the pics and recipe! Harper should try out for Next Food Network Star!!

  2. Haley says:

    My mom brought me back a bag of grits from SC not long ago…now I know exactly how I want to cook them!! This sounds (and looks) delicious!! Good job Harper! And I agree with Alisa, Harper should def try out!

  3. Heather says:

    Those look so good! I’m sure if I made them they would never turn out like Harper’s. I love some comfort food right now!

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