The Arctic Blast is here! Fight off the cold by enjoying your favorite comfort foods. Maybe you're craving a hearty soup? Try this one. Or some turkey (or chicken) pot pie? Here ya go. I'm currently interested in breakfast, and not just in the morning. Simply speaking the phrase "breakfast for dinner" makes me feel warm, cozy and relaxed, a "lazy afternoon beside a fire singing snap, crackle and pop" kind of relaxed. You could go with standard grits (maybe with cheese?), some bacon (there must be bacon) and a side of eggs. But why not put a little twist on the traditional? I give you Sweet Grit Cakes with Honey & Pecans. Oh, and a side of bacon. (I'll repeat: There must be bacon.)
Sweet Grit Cakes with Honey & Pecans
- 4 1/2 cups whole milk or half and half
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 1 cup stone-ground grits (In Central Alabama, get some great grits from Oakview Farms.)
- 1 tablespoon butter
- Honey for drizzling (raw and local is always best!)
- chopped pecans
Put milk, sugar, cinnamon and vanilla in a large saucepan over low to medium heat and steep the milk for 25-30 minutes.
Remove the cinnamon sticks and a bring the milk to a boil. Add the grits and cook, stirring often, until thickened. Spread the hot grits in a 2-inch layer on a sheet pan lined with wax or parchment paper and put in the fridge to set up, about 30-45 minutes. Use biscuit cutters or cookie cutters to cut the cold grits into grit cakes. Heat 1 tablespoon butter in a skillet and cook the grit cakes for a minute or two on each side, just to enough to warm them through. Serve with honey and chopped pecans on top. Feeling' fancy? Add a few crumbles of goat cheese. I love Alabama's own Belle Chèvre.
Note: You can make the grit cakes ahead and keep them in the freezer for up to 2 months. Just remember to thaw them in the fridge before you put them in the skillet. You can also forgo the "cake-making" step and just eat the sweet grits in original grit form. Still add the honey and pecans though. Trust me.
Note No. 2: This recipe originally appeared in the Winter 2014-15 issue of LEAN magazine alongside a great article by Jenny Stubbs on Southern Super Foods. Check it out here.