This weekend I jokingly told my in-laws that they could fill my Christmas stocking with [dry] grits. Now that they live in the south, they have full access to the good stuff. It was a joke. Buuuuut it actually sounds like a pretty good idea.
The more I think about it, the more stockpiling sounds like a good idea. Grits are basically a very sweet vehicle just waiting to be laden with cream, butter and cheese. And, in this case, pork, veggies and fried plantains. But you can put just about anything you want on them.
This recipe has a lot of components, but the end result is worth a few extra steps. Especially if you are sharing the cooking with somebody you enjoy being with – I think that is one of my favorite things about my marriage. Dave and I really love being in the kitchen together. And many hands make light work when you have a more complicated dinner. We put on a podcast and mix up a cocktail while we prep, chop and cook. I highly recommend it.
Oh, and one more recommendation for today: make 1.5 times the amount of grits. So later, you can just eat a bowl on its own. 🙂
For the pork – begin 6.5 hours before meal time
1 boneless pork shoulder roast (about 3 lbs.)
1 tsp. coarse salt
1 1/2 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 onion, diced
2 carrots, diced
2 bay leaves
freshly ground black pepper
1 cup water
Season the pork shoulder all over with coarse salt, paprika and garlic powder. Add the diced onion, carrots, bay leaves and water to a slow cooker. Place the pork in on top and season with freshly ground black pepper. Cook on the low setting for about 6 hours. When the pork is done, carefully use two forks to shred it into pieces. The onion, carrots and bay leaves can be composted.
For the grits – begin about 35 minutes before meal time
1 cup milk
1 cup cream
2 cups water
1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1 cup stone ground grits
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
4 Tbsp. unsalted butter
3 oz. shredded cheddar cheese
In a heavy pot such as a Dutch oven, heat the milk, cream, water and salt until boiling. Slowly pour in the grits while whisking the entire time, so no lumps form. Bring to a boil, then keep the heat on medium for 25 minutes, stirring frequently. Finally, remove the pot from the heat and stir in the black pepper, butter and cheddar cheese.
For the broccoli rabe – begin about 20 minutes before meal time
1 lb. broccoli rabe
2 Tbsp. oil
Bring a large saucepan full of at least 1 quart of water to a boil. Blanche the broccoli rabe for at least 2 minutes. Drain, then chop into bite-sized pieces. Heat the oil in a skillet and sauté the broccoli rabe over medium heat until it is fork-tender. Salt liberally.
For the plantains – begin about 10 minutes before meal time
1-2 ripe plantains, sliced on the bias
1/4 cup ish neutral oil
Generously cover the bottom of a skillet with oil and heat until the oil shimmers. Fry plantain pieces on both sides until golden brown. Remove to a paper towel-lined landing area and salt liberally.
Finally, assemble: Start with the grits, pile on broccoli rabe and pork, then top with fried plantains.