My Old Goat made his special Chili con Carne for dinner tonight. He doesn’t really cook but he does have a small repertoire of dishes that he makes when I’m not around and kitchen duty falls on his shoulders. He makes a mean grilled cheese sandwich, his Chili con Carne is really yummy, and he’s especially proud of his burgers. He keeps tweaking his burger recipe trying “to perfect it” as he says, which is really funny to me because I think it’s already perfect as it is.
Anyway, I was actually home this evening but Old Goat suddenly got a hankering to make Chili so I told him to go ahead and knock himself out. I could always use a break from fixing dinner. Not that I got a break. Instead I ended up making some Bacon Cheddar Cornbread Muffins to serve with his chili. These muffins are a great accompaniment to chilis, barbecues, even soups. They’re really easy to make because you start with a boxed cornbread mix. Give them a try at your next chili cook-off. I promise you’ll love ’em!
BACON CHEDDAR CORNBREAD MUFFINS
(Makes 16-18 muffins)
1 (15-oz.) box Krusteaz honey cornbread mix
2/3 cup milk
1/3 cup vegetable oil or melted butter
1 can whole kernel corn, drained
3/4 cup cooked, crumbled bacon
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 cup chopped green onion
Preheat oven to 400ºF. Grease muffin pan with non-stick cooking spray.
In a medium bowl, stir together milk, oil, egg and full box cornbread mix until moistened.
Stir in corn, bacon, cheese and green onion.
Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups, filling 2/3 full.
I’ve never eaten grits before. Just the name “grits” already sounds unappetizing to me. It wasn’t anything I ever had any burning desire to try. But I went to a restaurant for lunch the other day and the special on the menu was sausage stuffed pork on a bed of cheddar grits. I decided to give it a try and boy am I ever glad I did! The stuffed pork was yummy but the grits were out of this world! Creamy, cheesy, and delicious, it was so good that I could’ve eaten another whole order! I loved it that much.
As soon as I got home, I started researching grits to try and learn more about them. Apparently, they’re a staple down South and can be (and often are) eaten for breakfast, lunch and dinner. It’s common to serve them topped with some form of protein. Shrimp and Grits is a very popular Southern dish and one I’m going to have to try my hand at making one of these days.
I learned that there is such a thing as Instant Grits but it seems to be generally frowned upon and described in such terms as “bland” and “flavorless.” This is not to be confused with Quick Cooking Grits which seem to be more acceptable. For my first foray into the grit world, I decided to use coarse, stone-ground grits, preferring to leave the quick cooking version for another time. They’re really not as hard to make as I thought they would be!
Before I move on to the recipe, I thought I should post the 10 Commandments of Grits that I found on the web. Nobody seems to know their origin, though someone said he thought they came down from Sinai with Moses’ redneck cousin a week after the Israelites moved on.
The 10 Commandments of Grits
I. Thou shalt not put syrup on thy grits.
II. Thou shalt not eat thy grits with a spoon or knife.
III. Thou shalt not eat Cream of Wheat and call it grits, for this is blasphemy.
IV. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s grits.
V. Thou shalt use only salt, butter, and red eye gravy as toppings for thy grits.
VI. Thou shalt not eat Instant Grits.
VII. Thou shalt not put ketchup on thy grits.
VIII. Thou shalt not put margarine on thy grits.
IX. Thou shalt not eat toast with thy grits, only biscuits made from scratch.
X. Thou shalt eat grits on the Sabbath for this is manna from heaven.
2 cups whole milk
2 cups water
1 tsp. salt
1 cup stone ground grits or coarse ground cornmeal
½ tsp. black pepper
4 tbsps. unsalted butter
4 ounces (1½ cups) sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
Place the milk, water, and salt into a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat and bring to a boil.
Once the milk mixture comes to a boil, gradually add the grits, whisking continuously.
When all of the grits have been incorporated, decrease the heat to low and cover.
Remove lid and whisk every 3 to 4 minutes to prevent grits from sticking or forming lumps; make sure to get into corners of pot when whisking.
Cook for 20 to 25 minutes or until mixture is creamy.
Remove from heat, add pepper and butter, and whisk to combine.
Once the butter is melted, gradually whisk in the cheese a little at a time.
Follow the above recipe, but replace the milk and water with 4 cups of low-sodium chicken broth.
Add 1 minced garlic clove with the grits.
Then stir in 2 tablespoons heavy cream with the butter.