Sweet Potato Grits Bowl

Welcome back from our Thanksgiving break.  If you thought maybe you missed something, sign up for my sweet weekly emails so you never have to live in fear again!

How was your Thanksgiving?  Did it involve a lot of mushy food?  Mine did.  I think the big flaw with Thanksgiving meals is that it is all too mushy.

 grits bowl:  where friends meet.

grits bowl:  where friends meet.

Also, turkey is pretty mediocre and I simply do not think it is appropriate that America, supposedly the greatest country in the world, bases what is basically its national meal around such a mediocre bird.  America deserves better, is all I’m saying.

Here’s another thought.  Rice and grits are basically the same thing and should be treated as such.  Better yet, grits should be treated with the love and respect that we treat rice with when we make it into risotto.

Here’s a story.  There used to be a bakery right next to the Durham Farmer’s Market called Daisy Cakes, which served many delicious baked goods and other snacks.  They also had THE BEST GRITS IN THE WORLD.  I know because I have actually eaten all the grits that are served across this country and those were the best.

My dad and I really love to go to the farmer’s market on Saturday mornings.  Here was our routine.  Wander through the market, admiring the vegetables and looking for people who we knew.  Whoever saw someone we knew first won.  Then, we would walk up and down Hunt St. where all the food trucks are parked and buy some sort of snack item.  I’m partial to dumplings from Chirba Chirba, but I digress.

Then, we would wander through the farmer’s market one more time and then head up to Daisy Cakes where we would get coffee and a bowl of grits to share.

 all mixed up and crazy (description for this grits bowl or for me?  no one knows.)

all mixed up and crazy (description for this grits bowl or for me?  no one knows.)

But now, Daisy Cakes is closed.  What are we supposed to do?  Not eat grits? Absolutely not.  That will not work.  Instead this is what we will do.  Luckily, we went so often that they sometime would let us buy dry grits from them, and they told us where they got them and how they were cooked.  

Perhaps you're thinking the logical next step is that I should open a grits-centric restaurant.  But I'm just like, whoa. Why would you suggest that?!  I'm trying to get this college degree that everyone is so crazy about, so chill out.  Instead, we will cook grits like they did at Daisy Cakes, seasoned with our tears over its closing.  Go forth and eat grits.

SWEET POTATO GRITS BOWL

  • dry grits for 4 servings (this will depend on the type of grits you're using and you can look on the package for guidance.  Daisy Cakes and I like Anson Mills white grits.)
  • 1 sweet potato, roasted and mashed (or, about 1 1/2 cup mashed sweet potatoes)
  • 2 spicy Italian sausages (or sausage of your choice)
  • 3 cups brussel sprouts, quartered
  • salt and pepper
  • gruyere or other sharp cheese for grating

Place the grits in a saucepan with water according to the directions on the package.  Cook at low heat to a low simmer, stirring occasionally. Add more water if necessary as the grits absorb all the liquid.  When they're about 90% cooked (soft but still with a slight bite), add the mashed sweet potato and whisk intensely to incorporate.  There will probably be a few small chunks, which you can leave or mash with a fork.  Continue cooking until grits are creamy and soft, like the risotto of your dream.

Meanwhile, remove the Italian sausage from their casing and cook in a saute pan over medium heat, breaking apart chunks with a wooden spoon, until fully cooked and slightly crispy.  Place in a bowl, leaving the pork fat behind.  Oh yeah.  We're getting all up in that pork fat.

Place the brussel sprouts in the pan, over medium-high heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until the sprouts are tender and cooked through with some crispy, blackened bits.

Spoon grits into a bowl and grind pepper and salt.  Add grated gruyere over them in a blanket of love for both yourself and your grits.  Then, place sprouts and sausage on top. Add more gruyere. (If you're noticing that I lean heavily on cheese to make food great, you're not wrong.)

Serve with a fried egg if you're feeling breakfasty (or if you just like fried eggs.)  Eat up.