Earlier this year, I ate a version of this while sitting on the sofa with my sweetie. We’d been snowed in for a day or two and the novelty of being cooped up together hadn’t worn off. I had actually been a bit prepared for the snowstorm with a fridge full of produce and a mostly-stocked cupboard. Days were spent surfing the Internet, listening to his rockin’ music collection, playing Scrabble & Yahtzee. While towards the end, we were both ready to pull our hair out from cabin fever…it wasn’t because we’d had enough of one another. Truthfully, I rather enjoyed seeing him every day for more than a few hours. When we finally were able to get out of the house, we went to the pub down the street – together.
Today – another gray day that has been smattered with some frozen rain and eerily beautiful light – just so happens to be his birthday. I thought about sitting on our couch that night eating a bowl of spicy greens on top of creamy stone ground grits. Curled up under the afghan with Grizelda at our side. I hope you’ll humor me and let me say that I can only hope I get to spend many more snowy – and not so snowy – days with him.
As I’ve said all day to those who will listen to me, you want to make this recipe. Based on the spicy turnip green recipe that I made that night, these greens are even better. The fiery tomato sauce becomes an almost shrimp and grits-esque gravy that melts into the creamy grits that have a tangy taste from the buttermilk. For this batch, I used a can of Muir Glen tomatoes that have chipotle chiles already chopped into them. They’re amazing…but they’re also a new product. So, if they’re not available where you are, a mixture of diced tomatoes and chipotle chiles in adobo will do the trick. Adjust this to your heat level – a pinch of red chili flakes wouldn’t hurt here if you want some more kick. While this is absolutely fabulous as is, if you want to amp it up, you could always top this with a poached or fried egg to take it to the next level.
Chipotle Winter Greens & Buttermilk Grits – serves 4 as a hefty side dish or 2 as a seriously hearty entree – grits recipe adapted from a Lee Bros. recipe found here
For the greens:
– In a medium sized heavy-bottomed pan, heat up the olive oil on medium heat until shimmering. Add in the minced shallot and cook until soft and translucent – 3 to 4 minutes. Throw in your greens and let them start to wilt. When they’ve shrunken by about half, add in the chipotle tomatoes or the diced tomatoes plus the chopped chipotle in adobo. Cook the greens until tender – 20 minutes or so while stirring every so often. If you like your greens really soft and cooked through, keep cooking until they’re at your desired consistency. Taste them & add salt and pepper to your liking.
For the grits:
– Pour the buttermilk and water into a 2-quart saucepan, cover, and turn the heat to medium-high. When the milk mixture boils (about 5 minutes), uncover the pot, add the grits and salt, and reduce the heat to medium. Stir constantly until the grits are the consistency of thick soup – about 8 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, stirring every 2 to 3 minutes, for about 20 minutes, until the grits thicken and fall lazily from the end of the spoon. Cook about 15 minutes more, stirring constantly to prevent the grits from sticking to the bottom of the pan. When the grits are creamy and fluffy and soft, turn off the heat, add the pepper and butter, and stir to incorporate. Season to taste with salt and pepper, if desired, and serve immediately.