Hello folks – today a recipe, tomorrow we shall make your kitchen run more smoothly. Sound good? Here we go.
Last week we made the Rye Grits recipe from Lorna Sass’s Whole Grains Every Day Every Way (yes, I mention this book all the time. That’s because she’s amazing, and one of the only resources that really talks about how to cook with whole grains, not just whole grain flour). Anyhow, we made a lot of changes, enough that I feel confident calling the recipe below our own, adapted from hers. I especially like this recipe, because eating rye berries whole or cracked is pretty unusual, but really delicious. Enjoy!
(whole, uncooked rye berries – aren’t they beautiful?)
Savory Rye Grits
1/4 lb sausage or 1/4 lb bacon or 1/4 lb mushrooms (crimini, button, portabello . . .)
1 cup cracked rye (if you’re a member of our CSA, just pulse your rye in a blender or cuisinart a few times. If you’re not a member, you may be able to find cracked rye at your local coop or health food store)
1 large onion, sliced
2 cloves chopped garlic
1/2 lb potatoes, grated (no peeling necessary! Yukon Gold is a great choice)
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley (optional)
1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
Put a kettle of 3 cups water on to boil.
In a heavy-bottomed pot, brown your meat or mushrooms over medium-high heat. If you’re using bacon, you don’t need any additional fat in the pan. If you’ve chosen the sausage or mushrooms, add 2 tbsp butter or olive oil. Brown for about 5 minutes, until meat is browned, or the mushrooms have softened. Move the meat/mushrooms aside to a plate.
In the same pan (with the meat/mushroom drippings still inside), cook the onions until golden brown (10-15 minutes). Set the onions aside with your meat/mushrooms. Add the cracked rye to the pan and toast over medium heat, stirring, for 1 minute (it will become aromatic). Stir in the garlic and cook another thirty seconds.
Turn off the heat and protect your hand from any potential spattering. Pour 2 cups of boiling water into the cracked rye while stirring, being sure to scrape up anything stuck to the bottom of the pan. Stir in the potatoes and salt. Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes and rye grits are tender, 10-15 minutes, and the water is absorbed. (If the water is absorbed but they aren’t tender, add a few tbsp more water, but try not to stir too much – it will build gluten and make your grits gummy.)
Taste for seasoning, and add more salt or pepper if desired. Turn off the heat, cover, and steam for 10 minutes. Just before serving, stir in the onion, and meat/mushrooms. Sprinkle with the fresh parsley (this really makes the flavor sparkle), and cheese if desired. Delicious as a main course, or a side dish with eggs.