Farmhouse Kitchen, Serves 4
Sometimes you whip up a dinner and it is satisfying and really just fine. Then there are times when you nail it and what you have is close to perfection. Last night's dinner was exactly that, nearly perfect. I love one dish meals, check, I love it when the focus is on vegetables, check, I love it when it is hearty and filling, check and check, and when the flavors meet in a sweet, tangy, little bit spicy and cheesy creaminess, well - check, check, check! After a busy day of working on projects around the house, we needed to make a dinner that was not complicated and wouldn't take too much time. This really wasn't much more than sautéed lunch box peppers and onions with some leftover sausage. So simple. While the onion and peppers were sautéing, the grits were cooking.
1 quart of Lunch Box Peppers; tops removed, cut into 1/2" strips
1 large Onion; cut in half then cut into thin slices
1/2 LB bulk Sausage; we used Italian style, it had a kick to it, spicy chorizo would be great too
1 - 2 cups Tomato Sauce (Hopefully you have your own)
Oil for the pan
When I made this dinner last night, I used leftover sausage that was already cooked. If I were starting from the beginning, I would probably skip the oil in the pan and cook the onion and peppers in the fat left by the sausage. So cook your sausage in the skillet. When the sausage is most of the way cooked, pull it out of the pan and leave the fat behind. Then follow the next steps. When the peppers and onions are well cooked, add the sausage back in. IF YOU DON'T want to use the sausage fat for cooking, you can start the peppers and onions while the sausage is cooking. Heat a skillet with oil over medium to medium high. Add the onions and cook while tossing about until the slices fall apart. Add the peppers and turn the heat down to medium and continue cooking until it is all soft and cooked well through. Add the sausage back in along with 1 cup of the tomato sauce. Stir well, if you want it more saucy add more tomato sauce, you can also add some chicken stock or water if you prefer. Cook on low until ready to serve.
1 cup Grits
4 cups Water
1 tsp Salt
1/2 to 1 cup Milk or Half and Half
Grated Cheddar to taste, I used about 1 cup
If you are using instant grits follow the instructions on the package. Heat 2 cups of water while you are cutting up the peppers and onions. Once it is boiling, add salt and slowly add grits, stirring while adding. I turn the heat down to medium and keep an eye on it while you are working on the peppers and onions, stir even couple of minutes. Once the water has been absorbed add the last 2 cups of water. Continue to cook and stir every couple of minutes. When almost all of the water is absorbed the second time, add the milk, stir well. Turn heat down to low. Just before dinner is ready add the cheese, stir well so it melts. Taste, adjust for salt and or more cheese. Keep warm until you are ready to eat.
Just a note on Grits - When my son Cameron was in Bulgaria in the Peace Corp we had the opportunity to meet John Martin Taylor, the owner of Hoppin Johns. He sent me a package of his freshly milled, heirloom white corn grits and man are they ever delicious! Such a difference and really falls in line with our philosophy on freshly milled grain, heirloom grain, and overall really great people (that is a philosophy too!). You can order their grits online at hoppinjohns.com, When your order is placed, they mill and then ship. This is really important with corn, because it has so much oil and goes rancid so fast. I recently ordered a case (you really save on shipping) and I have a few more bags. If anyone wants a bag from me the cost is $10.00. Let me know and I will ask Connie to send it to you with your CSA share.