One of the best restaurants in the world, especially in my world, is Highlands Bar & Grill in Birmingham, Alabama. They serve what I call Southern Chic…you know; common southern ingredients prepared and served as fine cuisine.
I lucked out on the Refrigerator Challenge this week. With mushrooms and Black Forest Ham on hand, I decided to create an easy version of one of my favorite appetizers, baked grits. I’m sure that Chef Frank Stitt puts way more work in his dish but, this is really good!
¾ cups milk plus ½ cup milk
¾ cup water
2/3 cups quick grits
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 oz. cream cheese
1 whole egg, beaten
½ teaspoon salt
Mushroom & Ham Ragu
4 oz Black Forest Ham, julienned (cut into narrow strips)
1 cup sliced mushrooms
½ cup thinly sliced onion
1 clove of garlic, minced
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 oz white wine
2 tablespoons half & half
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon grated or shaved Parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 350.
For the grits: Place water, ¾ cup milk, butter, and salt in a saucepan. Heat to a boil on medium-high heat. Stir in grits and turn heat to low, cover and cook for 5 minutes. Add cream cheese; cook covered for another 3 minutes, to allow cheese to melt. Stir well, making sure that there are no lumps, remove from heat. In a small bowl, beat egg and ½ cup milk until completely blended. Pour egg mixture into grits, a little at a time, while continually stirring the grits to fully incorporate mixtures. Butter 4 four-ounce ramekins and place on a baking sheet. Pour grits into ramekins and bake for 30 minutes.
For the Mushroom & Ham Ragu: In a skillet, heat butter and olive oil on medium high heat. When hot, sauté ham until crisp, about 3-4 minutes. Remove ham from skillet and add mushrooms and onions, sauté until mushrooms are soft and onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and continue to sauté for 2 minutes. Add white wine and allow to simmer for 2-3 minutes. Add half & half, salt, and pepper and allow to simmer for an additional 2 minutes. Remove from heat.
To assemble: Run a knife around the edge of each ramekin to loosen the grits. Invert onto individual plates. Top with ham & mushroom mixture, sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Serve immediately.
the blissful baker says
ohh this looks great! i’ve only had grits a couple of times, and i ate them with a little bit of brown sugar and raisins. this savory version look delicious!
I’m sure I’ve had grits in the past but I can’t recall the exact experience. This looks pretty amazing though so I’m fairly certain I’ll love them this time around!
I love grits! Cheese grits and shrimp are my favorite. 🙂 I’ve never had ham in grits before, and may try that soon!