Green Cheese Grits with Roasted Chiles

September 12, 2016

green-cheese-grits-with-roasted-chiles-garlic-cilantro-spinach

Greenest grits ever! Poblano chiles, spinach, scallions, and cilantro make this an emerald green delight. Because the ingredients are folded in at the end, their flavors remains crisp and bright.

At the core of this recipe is salsa verde, making it perfectly suited for any Latin and Southwestern style meal. And the contrast of rich creamy cheeses with so many fresh flavors makes it the ideal accompaniment for grilled meats, like spicy tandoori style BBQ chicken.
       Roasted poblanos and garlic add a lot of robust flavor. Toss in a jalapeño or two if you like a little heat. If roasting peppers isn't your thing, skip the step entirely. Simply substitute a drained 4-ounce can of roasted green chilis and briefly sauté the garlic.

 

Makes about 4 cups  |  Cooking time: About 1 hour, including preparing the grits

 

Ingredients

  • 2 large poblano peppers
  • 4–5 cloves garlic
  • 1–2 jalapeno peppers (optional)
  • ¾ cup finely chopped fresh cilantro, loosely packed
  • ¾ cup (half of a 10-ounce package) frozen spinach, thawed, squeezed dry, and finely chopped (you can use fresh spinach as well)
  • ½ cup finely chopped scallions, white and green parts (6–8 scallions)
  • ¼ teaspoon ground coriander seed
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black or white pepper
  • ¾ teaspoon sugar or honey
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime or lemon juice
whole-roasted-chiles-and-garlic-ready-to-peel

Method

Make the Grits

Prepare the grits following the Basic Stovetop Grits recipe. For the cooking liquid we recommend water or low sodium chicken or vegetable broth. (Info about cooking liquids is at Grits Basics: 5 Tips to Make Perfect Stone Ground Grits.) Add the Monterrey jack and Parmesan cheeses to the warm grits and stir until melted. Cover the grits to keep them warm.

Roast the Chile Peppers and Garlic

Turn the broiler on high and move a rack to the upper half of the oven. On a foil-lined baking pan, arrange the poblanos, garlic, and jalapeños (if using). Broil the vegetables until they're lightly charred, then use tongs to turn them. Continue broiling and turning until the garlic cloves are deep brown (don’t let them burn) and the chile peppers are charred and begin to collapse—a total of 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from the oven. Once cool enough to handle, peel and chop the garlic. For the chile peppers, peel off any loose skin, remove stems and seeds, and chop them. Combine the chopped chile peppers with the garlic and set aside.

Finish the Green Cheese Grits

In a heavy pot or Dutch oven over medium-low heat, add the chile pepper-garlic mixture and heat for about 1 minute. Add the grits, cilantro, spinach, scallions, coriander seed, pepper, and sugar. Stir the mixture until the grits are warm and steamy and the ingredients are well combined—1 or 2 minutes should be enough. If the grits seem dry, add a little milk or water. Remove the grits from the heat and add the freshly squeezed lime juice. Taste to adjust seasonings. Need more salt? More lime juice?. Transfer Green Cheese Grits with Roasted Chiles to a bowl and serve while hot. 

If you aren't ready to serve your grits immediately, check out our 5 Tips to Keep Grits Warm.





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