Grits and Grillades
Here's a recipe for one of our family's favorite meals. Don't let the name throw you off; this Louisiana dish really is delicious!
Typically, this is for Sunday brunch, but it manages to find its way to our weekday table, usually as leftovers, and occasionally this is the meal I bring to a new mom. In New Orleans, it is a popular brunch dish.
Sunday brunch is my favorite meal for entertaining. It's already a relaxed day and the assortment of foods you can set out for brunch usually ensures something for everyone. This dish, grillades (pronounced GREE-yods or GREE-yod), is usually the main dish at brunch. It is accompanied by an assortment of fresh fruit, buttermilk biscuits, muffins or another breakfast bread, juices, coffee, and a yogurt bar with fruits and toppings, like granola, for the children (and adults).
Grillades are simply bits of round steak (or cube steak for more tenderness) simmered in a brown, tomato-based gravy. The gravy's base is a quick roux, made from cooking flour in oil. For ease of preparation, you can chop the vegetables ahead. They need to be chopped before you begin cooking the meat. Finely chopped, the vegetables will cook down so they're not that visible, if you have children who don't like to see their vegetables. Otherwise, a medium-chop will do. Kitchen scissors are ideal for cutting green onions. This is one of those recipes, like soup or gumbo, that is better the second day. So, if you'd like to use this for Sunday brunch, just prepare it Saturday and re-heat on the stove before your guests arrive.
Now, if you think you don't like grits, think again. I've lost count of the people who have told me they just took the grits to be polite and were shocked by how good grits could taste. Let's be honest, the obscene amounts of butter and sharp cheddar account for most of that! That's why this is not a regular dish in our weekday meal rotation. There is also the baking process, though, which helps to change the texture so these grits differ from those of the regular stove top variety.
It does involve some prep work, but this recipe is totally worth the effort!
Grillades and Baked Cheese Grits
4 1/2 lbs round steak (1/2” thick) 1/2 c chopped fresh parsley
2 tsp salt 4 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp pepper 2 c water
2/3 c vegetable oil, divided 1 tsp dried thyme
2/3 c all-purpose flour 2 (14.5 oz) cans stewed tomatoes,
2 c chopped onion undrained
1 1/2 c chopped green bell pepper 3 bay leaves
1/2 c chopped green onions Garnish: fresh parsley sprigs
1/2 c chopped celery Baked Cheese Grits
Pound steak to 1/4-inch thickness, using a meat mallet or rolling pin. Cut steak into 12 serving-size pieces. Combine salt and pepper; sprinkle evenly over both sides of beef. Cook beef, a few pieces at a time, in 1/3 cup hot oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat until browned on both sides. Remove beef from Dutch oven and set aside. Add remaining 1/3 cup oil to drippings in Dutch oven; gradually stir in flour. Cook over medium heat 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Stir in 2 cups onion and next 5 ingredients; cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, 7 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Stir in water and next 3 ingredients. Add beef, bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 1 1/2 hours or until beef is tender, stirring and scraping bottom of Dutch oven often. Discard bay leaves. Serve by pouring over a slice of baked cheese grits.
Baked Cheese Grits
5 c water 2 c (8 oz) shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 tsp salt 1/4 c butter
2/3 c uncooked quick-cooking*
2/3 c uncooked quick-cooking white grits* 1/2 c grated Parmesan cheese
Bring water and salt to a boil in a large saucepan; gradually stir in grits. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add cheddar cheese, butter, stirring until cheese and butter melt. Pour mixture into a lightly greased 13 x 9 inch baking dish; sprinkle evenly with parmesan cheese. Bake, uncovered, at 350° for 45 minutes or until set.
* I usually just use one variety of grits. from: Southern Living Homestyle Cooking