I love southern grits, and last night for dinner, I decided that the new Anson Mills Carolina grits that I had picked up the last time I was at the Brooklyn Kitchen would be a good complement to a veal dish that I was making. I decided to incorporate some sweet potato into the grits, and pretty much came up with the rest as I prepared the grits. The end result was a creamy accompaniment to the veal, with a bit of texture and sweetness from the sweet potatoes. I also used ancho chile powder and paprika to give the grits some flavor, and just a hint of smokiness. These grits make for a perfect side dish with almost anything, and they are not that difficult to make - similar to making risotto. If you choose to make this recipe, do not substitute instant grits! Anson Mills grits are the best grits out there - they are the one that all the fancy restaurants use. I suggest Carolina, but they make a variety of different types of grits with slightly different textures, so feel free to experiment.
Sasha's Creamed Sweet Potato Grits
1-2 small sweet potatoes or yams, peeled and chopped
2 cups of water
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup skim milk
1/2 cup heavy cream (or you can continue using milk, if you prefer)
1/2 tsp ancho chile powder
1/2 tsp paprika
1 scallion, diced
pepper to taste
To prepare the grits, dice the sweet potato after peeling and saute in olive oil for about 15 minutes. In the meantime, add the salt and the water to the grits and bring to a boil, and continue to boil for about 5 minutes or so until the grits absorb a large amount of the water. Then add the milk, and continue cooking on medium heat (lower than a boil) until the milk reduces. Then add the cream, and continue doing the same. Towards the end of the process, add in the sweet potato and the scallions, about 10 minutes before the cooking is done. I wasn't initially sure how long it was going to take me to cook the grits to the right consistency, since I had not looked that up online prior to starting. My husband mentioned that according to the movie My Cousin Vinny, it takes 20 minutes to make grits, and these are "regular" creamy grits, as "no self-respecting southerner would make instant grits. " At any rate, it probably took me in the range of 20-25 minutes, and they were terrific.
I served the grits with a veal prepared piccata style - with lemon and white wine.
2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
6 veal scallops (about 1 lb)
1 1/2 T canola oil
1 cup dry white wine
2/3 cup low sodium chicken stock
2 cloves garlic (diced)
3 T of lemon juice
Combine the flour, 1 1/2 tsp of salt and the pepper in a bowl. Quickly dredge the veal scallops in the seasoned flour mixture, shaking to remove any excess flour.
Heat the pan and add 1 1/2 T of the butter to the skillet. Sear the veal until golden brown on all sides, about 45 seconds to 1 minute on each side. Set aside.
Add the wine to the pan and bring to a boil. When the wine has reduced by half, add the chicken stock, diced garlic and lemon juice. Cook for 3-5 minutes before returning the veal to the pan. The flour from the veal will thicken the sauce. Cook as desired for another minute or two until the veal is done. Serve the veal with the grits, a bit of sliced roasted red pepper and a bit of lemon.