>Redneck Risotto

>I wanted to share this recipe with you as one of my, erm, less delicious attempts at cooking. I’m sharing it because I feel like it has potential, but there’s one key ingredient that was my stumbling block, and I feel like someone might be able to give me advice that would make this better?

What’s that ingredient?


This may seem odd, since I was born in Georgia and raised in North Carolina…but we just didn’t eat grits in our house. I blame it on my parents being born and raised in Connecticut, so even though we lived in the South, we weren’t really genuine, sweet tea dripping out your veins Southerners. 

Here’s the recipe, from the 1998 Southern Living Annual Recipes cookbook. This particular recipe was contributed by Chef Jimmy Sneed in Richmond, Virginia. I apologize right now Jimmy for not doing justice to your recipe.

Redneck Risotto

6 1/2 cups chicken broth, divided
2 cups uncooked stone-ground white grits
1/4 cup unsalted butter
2 (3.5 oz) packages shiitake mushrooms
3/4 pound spicy Italian sausage
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 shallots, peeled and diced
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Bring 6 1/4 cups chicken broth to a boil in a large Dutch oven. Gradually add grits, stirring constantly; cover, reduce heat, and simmer, stirring occasionally, 1 hour or until creamy. Stir in butter; remove from heat.

Remove and discard mushroom stems; slice caps.

Remove sausage casings, and cube sausage; brown sausage in a skillet over medium-high heat, stirring often. Drain on paper towels. Wipe skillet clean.

Saute sliced mushrooms, garlic, and shallot in hot oil in skillet 1 minute. Add remaining 1/4 cup chicken broth; remove from heat.

Stir together grits, sausage, mushroom mixture, pepper, and 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese. Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup cheese. Yields 6 servings.

Sounds delicious right? I was so excited to try this recipe. Stupid, evil grits. Here’s my progress through the recipe.

This may have been my first mistake. The only options of grits I could find were these and instant. Hmm.
Peeling sausage casings isn’t for the faint of heart.

Now, if you know anything about grits, I’m assuming you can tell where I went wrong, right here. My grits weren’t creamy – they were actually quite stiff and moldable. I think I overcooked them? Someone help me out here.
I used Baby Bella mushrooms, since I couldn’t find Shiitakes.
Stirring the sausage into the grits.
This portion of the recipe smelled like heaven. I should have just left it out, mixed it with the sausage and had it over rice or something. Hmm…
Final product: doesn’t look so bad?

Since the flavors of the other ingredients smelled and tasted just fine, I’m 99.9% sure that my trouble was with the grits. I can imagine them smooth and creamy (like shrimp and grits…YUM), in which case this recipe would probably be one of my favorites. But since my grits were more similar to rubber than food, Scott and I wound up powering through this meal, and throwing away the precious leftovers, which I hate doing. 

So I’ve shared one of my failures with you, now would some precious Southerner explain to me the delicate art of cooking grits? Pretty please?

Happy Thursday!


5 thoughts on “>Redneck Risotto

  1. >I don't eat grits either, but I've made them a few times. All I know is that the longer they cook, the thicker and less moist they become. So… maybe try cooking them for a shorter length of time next time so they're runny and not too dry? The rest of the recipe looks yummy!

  2. >Yeah, the instant grits were definitely your downfall. Lol. If you cook instant grits for an hour they become dry and rubbery. If you cook them even a hair too long (like I did the first time i made grits) they end up inedible. Stone ground grits have to be cooked for an hour so they end up with that creamy texture you've seen in shrimp and grits. The recipe sounds delicious though! I may try it myself next time I go shopping 🙂

  3. >So I guess where I got lost is I figured "Old-Fashioned" grits were the same as "Stone Ground" (which I couldn't find anything labeled Stone Ground in my grocery store…too far north maybe? Bethany if you try it let me know how yours turns out! 🙂

  4. >never use instant. never. 😛 overcooking them will do it too. Here's something I've discovered though that will give you SUPER creamy grits. Cook your grits as usual, and as they are starting to thicken (should still be pretty soupy)crack a couple eggs into the grits and quickly mix them in. maybe an egg for every quarter cup of dry grits. the eggs will cook as the grits boil and yield super greamy grits. still can't overcook them. just something youc could try. 🙂

  5. >oh, incidentally, my favorite breakfast (discovered by my wonderful wife) is called breakfast in a bowl. grits with a couple eggs cooked into them and some browned sausage mixed in. add some cheese and you are good to go. oh, make sure you salt the grits water generously before you add the grits. 🙂

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