Another cold front is passing through the southeast forcing all Southerners to reach for comfort foods and head towards the fireplace. And what could be more comforting to a Southern girl than a big bowl of cheese grits? I think they even created a cliché acronym about it.
This recipe for “Low Country Christmas Bowl” was inspired by a recipe collection titled “Comfort in a Bowl” in the January 2011 addition of Real Simple Magazine. Their recipe is a sautéed mixture of andouille sausage and collard greens over cheese grits. After a literal panic over the idea of purchasing and preparing collard greens (which questions the “S” in my “GRITS”), I grabbed some baby spinach. I also added a couple of tomatoes and garlic cloves that I had around the kitchen.
I served this to my friend Patrick as a farewell holiday dinner before he heads to Kentucky for the holiday. With 17 degree winds blowing against my 1923 bungalow, we had to hold our bowls close to the fire to keep warm – and keep our grits from becoming concrete before we could finish!
Low Country Christmas Bowl
- 1 cup low-fat milk
- 3/4 cup quick cooking grits
- 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese (or to taste)
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 12 ounces andouille sausage, sliced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 shallots, sliced
- 2 roma tomatoes, quartered
- 1 red bell pepper, sliced
- 1 bag of baby spinach
In a large cast iron skillet, saute the sliced andouille sausage over medium high-until crispy. Move the sausage to the side, lower the flame to medium and add garlic and shallot. Saute until slightly soft and add the tomatoes and peppers. Meanwhile, bring the milk and a pinch of salt to a boil. Whisk in the grits on low heat about 6 minutes until soft and creamy. Add the butter and cheese. Taste for seasoning (at this point, you will be tempted to add more cheese – and I don’t blame you)! Once the sausage and vegetable mixture is soft, add the spinach and allow to wilt. Serve hot on top of piping hot cheese grit!