04 October 2010

Polenta is Uppity

It's been a while since we reached back into our No Place for Picky Eaters past and brought forth a good recipe for you all.

Last week I quizzed CG1 as to what sort of side dish I should take to a Supper Club dinner to compliment gumbo.

As it turned out, our hosts prepared a very tasty jambalaya, but, hell, I'm not Cajun and I've been over my Emeril Lagasse fixation for YEARS, so what do I know?

CG1 suggested: Fried Okra (EERH. Hubster hates okra), hush puppies or...baked grits.

Hmmm...Baked Grits. I make shrimp and grits all the time, but I'd never baked grits...though I imagined they'd be lovely all light and souffle-y and...grit-ty.

So I trolled the Interwebz and found a recipe. Printed it out, bought all the ingredients, and got down to work...completely disregarding the original recipe.

I do that. It's a sickness.

HOWEVER, the culinary gods were with me this time and the dish turned out extremely damn well, if I do say so myself. The supper club clan seemed to really like it, so when I got home last night I dug through the garbage can, pulling out bags and containers in an attempt to document what I'd done.

Here's the soooo not low-fat recipe as I recall it:

Baked Ham and Cheese Grits

Serves 8

  • 4 cups water
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 ½ cups quick grits
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 stick (cut into cubes) + 2 tablespoons salted butter
  • 3 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup chopped precooked ham (such as Heavenly Ham)
  • 1 large shallot, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dry thyme
  • 6 cups water (for water bath)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter 8x13x2-inch glass baking dish.

Bring water, cream and salt to light boil in a heavy, medium-size pot. Add grits whisking constantly. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer grits, whisking frequently, about 15 minutes or until thick and smooth.

Meanwhile, melt 2 tablespoons butter in heavy sauté pan, over medium heat. Add ham and thyme and sauté until ham is heated through, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

Boil 6 cups water.

Remove grits from heat, add cubed butter, cheeses and ham, and combine thoroughly. Allow to cool slightly and fold in beaten eggs. Season with salt and pepper. Pour into prepared baking dish. Place dish in large roasting pan. Fill roasting pan with enough boiling water to come halfway up the sides of the baking dish.

Bake until grits are golden and firm to touch, about 45 minutes.

Serve with green beans and fried cabbage (or other Southern vegetables) as a meal.

2 comments:

Country Girl said...

Last Saturday we played soccer in Pulaski, and on the way back stopped at the Mennonites. In the pile of one-of-everything I bought is a bag of stone ground polenta!! I'll share ;)

Mrs. Gamgee said...

Ooooh that sounds wonderful! Once this blasted GD is gone, I'll have to give it a try.