Two Wednesdays ago we had dinner with Susan and Jack, some family from California. I took up the Zucchini Salad recipe I’ve been raving about. We also had sliced tomatoes, fresh walleye, and Grits n’ Greens Casserole. For dessert we had grilled peaches with homemade ice cream and lattes. What a wonderful meal!
What really stuck with Matt and I was the casserole. It was creamy, full of greens, and just plain awesome! Susan and Jack used stone-ground grits purchased in Alabama, but you can also substitute with polenta. And, again, for those of you who need to incorporate more greens into your diet, this is a perfect recipe to add to your list. Not necessarily the most healthy with a good amount of butter, but I figure the greens balance out the bad. And, if you add more greens, then it’s even better!
Grits n’ Greens Casserole
6 cups chicken or vegetable stock
2 cups milk
2 cups grits (not instant) or polenta
1 lb greens (Swiss Chard, kale, spinach, beet greens, collard greens – I think chard is great…and I also think you could use more, if wanted)
3 cups Parmesan, grated
1 stick butter
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 cup crumbled cooked bacon
Bring 6 cups stock and milk to a boil. Add grits/polenta gradually, stirring until combined. Return to boil and cover with lid. Reduce temperature to a simmer and cook for 25-30 minutes until thick and creamy, stirring frequently. Add more milk, if needed, for consistency of slighly runny oatmeal.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook greens in boiling water for 30-45 seconds, just until they turn bright green. Then move them to an ice bath to stop the cooking. Drain and squeeze out excess liquid.
Add 2 1/2 cups Parmesan, butter, and pepper to grits/polenta. Stir until butter melts and then stir in greens. Spoon into greased baking dish. Top with bacon and 1/2 cup Parmesan. Bake until golden, about 25-3o minutes.
This photo seems fitting for this post because Susan’s sister has a winery (http://www.fishervineyards.com/) in California. Susan and Jack say that I remind them of Whitney, their niece and a cousin of mine, who makes some of the wines for the vineyard. And, Whitney’s husband is a brew master. So, Matt and I are thinking a trip to Sonoma/Napa is in our future.
Until then, we’ve got a few grape vines of our own. The grapes in the photo above are from a vine in its 3rd year. They are tart and sweet at the same time. Hopefully we’ll have more grapes in the next year or two.