6.13.11 Meaty Monday: True Grits 2.0
Bacon for breakfast is a treat. Not an everyday thing, but especially welcome when there's a day of gardening ahead, or something more strenuous than sitting in front of the computer. Crisp, smoky, salty, sweet and finger-lickin' good, bacon is damn near irresistible. (Especially if you know for a fact that it doesn't come from a pig raised in misery on a feed lot.) And boy does it go well with corn. Corn, bacon and avocado salad. Corn pudding with bacon. Cornbread with crispy pork cracklings. After last week's rather esoteric grits posting that involved draining and drying your grits before eating, I thought it might be a good idea to share a recipe that's a little less involved. I was ordering buckwheat and brown rice flours from Anson Mills to do some gluten-free baking, and I also picked up a bag of their coarse-ground Pencil Cob brits—so-called for the very slim corn cob. I simply boiled them with water, stirred in a little cream, some sharp cheddar and a handful of minced jalapeño and there was breakfast. A couple of slices of bacon fried to perfection and it became a breakfast of champions. So if you were daunted by my purple Forbidden Rice grits, these should send you racing to the stove.
Anson Mills' Pencil Cob grits are querned—ground—by hand and they have a marvelous coarse texture and the sweet flavor of fresh corn. On their site it says you should soak these overnight and cook them slowly, but I've found you skip the soaking and can whip them up in just about 20 minutes and nobody suffers.
If you're going to be stuck behind a desk, and have no plans to make it to the gym, you might want to skip the bacon. (Hot tip: Regular, vigorous exercise not only makes you feel a whole lot better, it allows you to eat more bacon.)
Cheesy Jalapeño Grits with Bacon
- — 1/4 cup organic cream
- — 1 cup fresh corn kernels, optional
- — 1/2 jalapeño jalapeño, seeded and minced
- — 1 cup sharp cheddar, grated
- — 1 cup stoneground yellow grits
- — 3 cups water
- — sea salt
- — humanely raised bacon
In a medium saucepan, bring 3 cups of water and 2 teaspoons salt to a boil. Whisk in grits and lower heat to simmer, stirring frequently.
Meanwhile, heat a cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat, and throw in bacon, 2 slices per person. Cook, turning once, until bacon is nicely browned and crisp, or as you like it.
When grits are tender, after about 20 minutes, stir in cheese, jalapeño, fresh corn (if using), and cream. Cook about 5 minutes longer, until cheese is melted and flavors come together. Taste and add salt if needed.
Serve grits in individual bowls, topped with the bacon slices.