Monday, February 25, 2013

Roasted Corn Grits

Today a coworker said "I saw your blog. It's great, but where's your grits recipe?" I guess that since cheese grits is in the name of this blog, I'll have to make that my inaugural recipe.

I haven't made grits in quite some time, as I can trace the start of my weight gain back to my discovery of grits at Zea Rotisserie & Grill. They used to have a location near my place of work in Plano, so we went there at least once a week for lunch. The franchisee, Kent Rathbun, decided to stop being "Zea's" a few years ago and changed the name to "KB's". He subsequently closed the doors to the restaurant to focus on catering and special events at that location. It's a shame, because I always liked the food there, but he probably did me a favor by taking away my easily accessible source of grits.

After trying Zea's grits, I had to figure out how to make them. Google provided me with a half dozen variations on recipes all claiming to be "Zea's Grits", so I picked one that seemed the most likely version, and modified it from there. Once I was done, there was more of my scribbling on the page than the original printout, so I don't think anyone can claim plagiarism on this.

Now, these aren't really "cheese grits" but trust me, you won't miss the cheese. These are great as a side dish for lunch or dinner, with a nice piece of grilled steak or chicken.

Note: Do not use instant grits in this. You want the real thing.

April's Interpretation of Zea's Roasted Corn Grits

1 ear of corn
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup yellow grits
1/4 cup butter
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dried minced onion
shredded cheddar cheese and thinly sliced green onion to garnish

Roast or grill the corn. My preferred method is to shuck it, rub it with butter, wrap it in foil and put it on the grill over indirect heat for 20 minutes, turning occasionally. You can also put it in a 400 degree oven for the same amount of time. Set aside.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Put the chicken broth and cream/milk in a large saucepan and bring to a simmer. Stir in the grits with a whisk, and add the butter, salt and minced onion. Cook over low heat (no more than a simmer) while stirring occasionally (about 5 minutes) or until thickened. Don't ever walk away from them, as they are prone to burn to the bottom of the pan if left unattended.

Put grits into a casserole dish. Cut the corn kernels off the cob and stir the kernals into the grits. Sprinkle some cheddar cheese on top and put into the oven (uncovered) for about 15 minutes or so, just to let the cheese melt, the top dry out a bit, and the grits firm up. Serve garnished with green onion.

Disclaimer: my notes on my recipe say "finish in oven" so I don't know if the 15 minutes is accurate. I think I'm being conservative, but keep an eye on them and feel free to sample occasionally to see if they are "just right" ;-)

If you have never cut kernels off an corn cob, the trick is to stand it up on the large end on top of a cutting board, then cut with a knife vertically down the cob, rotating the cob around as you go. If you need a demonstration, watch Iron Chef sometime when Bobby Flay is competing--he does it in 99% of his competitions.

Update 2/26: I tweaked the instructions for the roasted corn.

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