lovin’ spoonfuls February 3, 2011

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:

  • 1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium shallot, minced
  • 1 large (1 – 1 1/2 pound) bunch kale, dinosaur kale, collards or turnip greens – I used dinosaur kale from our CSA – washed, rough chopped with woody stems & hearts removed
  • 1 14.5 ounce can Muir Glen Fire-Roasted Petite Diced Tomatoes with Chipotle chiles – you can substitute a can of the regular fire roasted tomatoes & add 1 – 2 tbsp chopped chipotle chile in adobo (depending on how spicy you can handle)
  • kosher salt & fresh ground pepper, to taste

– 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:

  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup stone-ground grits – my preference is always Logan Turnpike Mill white grits from Georgia
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter

–  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.


The Broke Socialite Feb 3, 2011 05:02 pm

*swoons* I was trying to figure what to chef up for tonight’s supper. THIS may be it with a slight modification. You’re right. This was so worth the wait.

jimmy Feb 3, 2011 05:02 pm

That does look great Tami!

I’ve never cooked grits with buttermilk, I look forward to trying that.

While I’m still claiming stout omnivore, all your veg-friendly recipes work out well with the fiance.

Allison Feb 3, 2011 05:02 pm

Oh my goodness this combination sounds amazing. Definitely bookmarking this!

Dayle Moses Feb 3, 2011 07:02 pm

looks delicious and i like the story attached to this recipe! dayle

merry jennifer Feb 3, 2011 09:02 pm

I completely love the idea of this dish, and I WILL make it. For me alone, of course, since my crazy family doesn’t like tomatoes. I usually use milk in my grits – or some combination of milk and cream – but I may give buttermilk a try next time.

sara Feb 4, 2011 01:02 am

Yummy, this dish looks really good! I love the combination of flavors, and such a pretty picture! :)

Sasa Feb 4, 2011 02:02 am

Aw, how sweet. I live somewhere really snowy but we don’t really have snow days but if we did, I think I’d want to spend it just like that – what a lovely opportunity to hang out and reconnect.

Paula Feb 4, 2011 06:02 am

That`s so simple and so delicious! I love such recipes best :)

Brian @ A Thought For Food Feb 4, 2011 07:02 am

Despite being a Northerner, I have a lot of family in the South that always makes grits for us every time we visit. And now I know what to do with these cans of Muir Glen tomatoes I have in my pantry. Great recipe!

WhiskAwayNic Feb 4, 2011 11:02 am

Alright, you may have finally tempted me into kale. Awesome, accessible recipe!

BiBoutte Feb 4, 2011 11:02 am

What a lucky Son have I. I’ll try this Sunday.

Kasey Feb 4, 2011 01:02 pm

I can just imagine sitting by a fire and eating a bowlful of this. I usually cook with polenta, not grits, but those white grits are screaming my name. Just lovely.

heather Feb 4, 2011 05:02 pm

As all good southern living converts, we’re huge fans of both grits and greens. And because we’re in southwest Texas, chipotle and all sorts of chillies are part of our everyday meal routine. This looks and sounds amazing — can’t wait to have these smells wafting from my kitchen, and the warm flavors to beat this rare chill.



Jenné @ Sweet Potato Soul Feb 4, 2011 11:02 pm

This looks lovely!
I’m from Atlanta, but I’ve only had grits once! I live in NYC now, so they’re a bit harder to come by. I love your use of fresh CSA produce and local grits. It makes them even more special.
I just discovered your blog, and I will certainly keep paying you visits!

Trudy ~ veggie num num Feb 7, 2011 02:02 am

This dish looks like super comfort food and simple to boot! I have never seen grits in Australia or New Zealand, I’m sure they must be available here somewhere though… do you think this recipe would work well with a soft polenta in lieu of the grits?

Alex Feb 10, 2011 05:02 pm

I made this over the weekend. I am a huge grits lover but I was not that big of a fan of the buttermilk. Didn’t matter too much tho because the kale totally overpowered the buttermilk flavor and that was just fine with me–I love it spicy and it was delicious! Of course leftover grits are hard to work with but I did manage to microwave some with the kale on top and then threw some fried eggs on top and hot damn that made a good breakfast!

Christine Feb 17, 2011 06:02 pm

Wow, this was good. I went looking for a kale and egg recipe on tastespotting.com and found this. It was perfect. The buttermilk freaked us out a little as it started to separate while heating but came back together when we put in the grits. The only thing we added was a small dollop of bacon jam on top of the fried egg. Yum!

Dagmarette @ The Finishing School Feb 18, 2011 04:02 pm

The poached egg is a wonderful addition! Thank you for the suggestion. Definitely a comforting meal. Check out my cooking show!

Alanna Kellogg Mar 1, 2011 09:03 am

Hi Tami, thanks for the inspiration on this, the combination of creamy grits with bitter greens is wonderful. I just blogged my own version of it — http://www.kitchenparade.com/2011/03/greens-grits.html

[…] or maybe because I’ve seen two recent blog posts that had me inspired (this one by Kelly and this one by Tami), I wanted to make grits. I wanted to eat […]

sdrunner92101 Jun 13, 2011 02:06 pm

I just stumbled upon your blog when I was browsing thefancy.com. This recipe looks great! I just acquired some kale and tomatoes over the weekend, so I’d like to try this one, but I don’t have any grits on hand. Any possible substitute you might recommend? I have Bob’s Red Mill Cream of Wheat…? Thank you!

graham Jul 5, 2011 10:07 am

I just made this and wow, how delicious! I love buttermilk. I threw on some aged cheddar from a farmer here in NC, it gave it and extra zing… :)