Tuesday, April 5, 2011

White Corn Grit Cakes with Sausage and Turnip Greens

I might have mentioned that my nostalgia for Southern food gets the best of me when I go shopping in the U.S., even if it is a food I rarely, or never, ate while growing up in the South. My mom had a pork ban in effect at our house, but occasionally I could get away with snatching a couple of those spicy rounds off the breakfast buffet during our summer vacations away.

Mom never served my brother and I grits. They did not enter my consciousness until I went away to school. A British friend of mine actually introduced me to grits while we were attending the same college in Mississippi. Sometimes it takes an outsider to show you the good things you have but take for granted. Cheese grits are one of my favorite foods now.

These days, almost anything I can’t get in Canada is fair game when it comes to Southern ingredients. I have had a log of Jimmy Dean breakfast sausage in the freezer for several months now, eight cans of turnip greens taking up valuable space in my small storage area and a huge jar of white corn grits that I refuse to date on this public blog. Grits don’t expire right? Recently, I have put myself on a two product limit when we go on these U.S. shopping trips.

This recipe is Southern through and through. Southerners love to cook from the pantry, which isn’t always a good thing. I love fresh foods but when you have been stockpiling Southern ingredients as if they are keepsakes rather than actual edible food it is time to take certain measures to flush the pantry. This is a very tasty grit cake that would be perfect for a weekend brunch. The cakes could be readied the night before, refrigerated, and then baked the next morning.

¾ cup white corn grits
1 can low sodium (14.5 ounces) turnip greens
1 tomato, deseeded and finely chopped
1 pound pork breakfast sausage
½ cup Mexican blend cheese, finely shredded
Sea salt, to taste

Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a large baking tray with parchment paper. Have a large mixing bowl nearby.

In a medium pot, bring 3 cups of cold water to a boil. Whisk in the grits. Once the grits start boiling, remove from the heat. Set aside to finish cooking and thicken.

Drain the turnip greens in a colander. Squeeze additional water out with your hands. Put the drained greens in the large mixing bowl. Add the tomato to the mixing bowl.

In a large pot, over medium heat, thoroughly cook the sausage. Use a spatula to break it apart and crumble it while it cooks. Put the sausage in the colander. Rinse the excess grease from the sausage and allow it to drain thoroughly. Add the sausage, cheese, thickened grits and sea salt to the mixing bowl. Stir to combine.

Use a ½ cup ice cream scoop to form the cakes. Place each mound on the lined baking tray. Flatten each mound to form a small cake. Cook for 40 minutes in the hot oven.

Makes about 20 grit cakes.

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Try my other recipes using grits/polenta:
Shrimp and Grits
Venison Ragu with Creamy Polenta

Or try my tasty Smoked Salmon and Potato Cakes.

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