Smoked Cheddar Cheese Grits with Corn and Okra

September 11, 2016

smoked-cheddar-grits-with-corn-and-okra

Garden-wise, corn and okra signal the height of summer. Their flavors are so associated with one another that pairing them up any other time of year can transport you back to balmier days.

Okra doubters should keep an open mind here. Folding the crisp green pods into creamy cheese grits neutralizes much of the texture some folks disapprove of. Other summer vegetables—tomatoes and hot or sweet peppers—would be right at home in this dish. Smoked Cheddar adds a tasty bacon-like flavor, but a little smoked cheese can go a long way so we've suggest blended it with another cheese.

 

Makes about 3½ cups   |   Cooking time: About 1 hour, including preparing the grits

 

Ingredients

  • 3 cups warm prepared Barkley's Mill Stone Ground Heirloom Grits
  • ½ cup (2 ounces) grated smoked Cheddar cheese
  • ½ cup (2 ounces) grated sharp Cheddar cheese
  • ½ cup cream or milk
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Red pepper flakes, to taste (optional)
  • 2 medium ears yellow corn
  • 6–8 medium pods okra, sliced (about ½ cup)  
  • ½ cup water
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ cup sliced scallions, white and green parts
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar or lemon juice
  • Pepper sauce, optional

Method

Prepare the grits following the recipe for Basic Stovetop Grits. For the cooking liquid we recommend a 50/50 blend of milk and low sodium chicken or vegetable broth. (For more about cooking liquids, check out Grits Basics: 5 Tips to Make Perfect Stone Ground Grits.) 

Combine the warm grits with the smoked cheddar, sharp cheddar, and cream in a heatproof bowl or serving dish. Cover the grits with a lid or foil and keep them warm while preparing the vegetables.

Stand the corn in a wide mixing bowl and cut off the kernels. You’ll probably have about 1½ cups, but don’t worry if it’s not exact. Into a separate bowl, scrape the cobs with the back of the knife to release the milky liquid. Set aside.

In a medium nonstick skillet over medium heat, melt the butter with the black pepper and red pepper flakes (if using). Add the corn kernels and sauté until they turn deep yellow—1 to 2 minutes. Add the okra and sauté until the slices are bright green—1 to 2 minutes. Add the water and salt and cook until the liquid has evaporated. Note: You can add more liquid and simmer a few moments longer if necessary. Remove the pan  from the heat and stir in the scallions.

Fold the corn and okra mixture into the grits. Add the vinegar (or lemon juice) and pepper sauce (if using), and taste for seasoning. You may need more salt and vinegar. If too thick, add a splash of water. If the grits have cooled down too much, reheat them in the microwave. If you aren't ready to serve your grits immediately, check out our 5 Tips to Keep Grits Warm.



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