Kitchen Bitch

Cooking in the Kitchen with Sass & Class

For Tasha: Sausage & Cheese Grits with Tomato-Pepper Sauce and Fried Egg October 24, 2012


Let me start by saying: I could eat this dish for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Or brinner. Or brunch.

It’s what you might call a “crossover” meal, as anything with a fried egg can be deemed breakfast OR dinner, at least in my book. (And I’m sure many of you, dear readers, agree).

It’s savory. It’s comforting. It’s satisfying. It’s a big bowl of simple ingredients put together to make something truly special—something worth waking up on Sunday morning just to make.

The key is to start with the best stone-ground grits you can find. Grits are basically the crushed kernals of dried corn. Grits can be made from white or yellow corn, with no significant difference in taste.  I took the plunge and ordered some online from Old School Brand, a North Carolina-based company that uses an antique grist mill to grind its products, based on a recommendation from Bon Appetit magazine. WOW! They are so good. If you like grits, I highly recommend ordering some. They’re $3.50 for a 2-pound bag, plus shipping. I ordered two different kinds and store them in mason jars.

The topping for these delicious grits is easy to make: brown up some sausage, saute an onion and pepper, add some seasonings and a small can of tomato sauce, and voila! Instant sausage with tomato-pepper sauce. You could totally swap in mushrooms, shallots and thyme for the peppers, or any other vegetable combo you enjoy. And the sunny-side-up egg is optional—I think the runny yolk really elevates this dish from good to great, but feel free to fry the egg all the way through if that weirds you out, or leave it out altogether.

You can also spice up this dish by adding jalapeno or crushed red pepper to the sauce. However you make it, this dish is sure to be a crowd pleaser—who can resist breakfast for dinner?

Sausage & Cheese Grits with Tomato-Pepper Sauce and Fried Egg
This one-bowl meal is great for breakfast or dinner.  Serves 4. Click here to download the handy printable PDF of this recipe.

 
FOR THE GRITS:
4 cups milk or chicken stock (or a combination)
1 heaping cup stone ground grits
½ tsp. salt
½ cup shredded cheddar
½ teaspoon garlic powder
Pinch of cayenne
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

For the Topping:
1 pound pork sausage, such as Jimmy Dean’s
1 red pepper, diced
1 small onion, diced
1 large tomatoes, diced
1 (8 oz.) can tomato sauce
2 tablespoons fresh herbs (basil, parsley, cilantro, rosemary, thyme, etc.)
4 eggs
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Bring the milk/chicken stock to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add the salt and whisk in the grits. Lower the heat, and simmer until the grits are tender and creamy, about 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Whisk in the cheese, garlic powder, and salt and pepper to taste. Turn the burner to low until you’re ready for the grits. Thin with more milk if the grits become too thick.
  2.  Meanwhile, while the grits are cooking, brown the sausage in a large skillet, then move it to a paper towel-lined plate to drain, leaving about a tablespoon of fat in the pan. Return the pan to the heat, and add the pepper and onion; sauté until tender and the onion is translucent. Add tomatoes, sauté 2 minutes more. Add the sausage back to the pan as well as the tomato sauce. Let simmer 5 minutes to blend flavors. Add fresh herbs and season to taste with salt, pepper, and garlic powder.
  3. In another large skillet over medium heat, fry the eggs in 1 tablespoon of olive oil until the whites are cooked through but the yolk is still runny.
  4. To assemble: Divide the grits between four bowls. Top each with a quarter of the sausage-pepper mixture and a fried egg. Serve immediately.
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