Being from the South means that you probably love grits. I know I do. I prefer my grits simple with salt, pepper and butter. Sometimes with cheese. My grandfather—who lived in south Georgia—would add tomatoes to his grits. Most of the grits at restaurants or breakfast joints are usually a disappointment. But my mom's grits are always good. I had an itch for the comfort food recently, so I bought a bag of Bob's Red Mill corn grits. You can also use this mixture to make polenta (Italian cousin to grits).
Josh was born and raised in Buffalo, so he doesn't share my love of grits. At my begging he's tasted them, but he just doesn't enjoy the texture. When I saw this recipe for tamale pie, I thought he might enjoy it. And boy, was I right.
Tamale pie with green sauce
Adapted from Bauman College recipe
1 c grits/polenta (label should read corn grits)
3 c water or veggie broth
1 tbsp coconut oil
1 onion, diced
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp cumin seeds
1/4 tsp cayenne
1 tsp oregano
3 tbsp tomato paste
3 cups collard greens, cut into chiffonade
sea salt & pepper
1 tbsp coconut oil
Preheat oven to 350. Boil 3 cups of water. Add corn grits, stirring. Cook for five minutes, continuing to stir. Add dash of cayenne, sea salt and pepper. Set aside to cool.
Add 1 tbsp coconut oil to saute pan over medium heat. Add onion, cooking for 5-8 minutes, until translucent. Add garlic, cumin, cayenne, oregano. Cook for a few more minutes until you start to smell the garlic. Add the tomato paste, stirring well into the onion mixture. Then add the collard greens. If the greens start sticking to the pan, add a bit of water. Remove from heat when the greens are cooked, but not overly wilted.
Use the other tbsp of coconut oil to oil an ovenproof casserole dish. Spread two thirds of the grits into the bottom of the dish and up the sides to make the bottom layer of crust. Add the collard green mixture evenly across the crust. Then add the rest of the grits, spreading to make the top of the pie. Bake for 20 minutes or until the top of the pie starts to brown. Set aside to cool and then cut into slices.
1 cup cilantro, rinsed and chopped
1 small shallot, minced
1 small jalepeno, seeded and diced
juice of one lime
1/4 c feta or goat cheese (optional)
Blend all ingredients until the mixture is smooth. If it's too spicy, add more cheese or plain yogurt. Drizzle over your tamale pie slice. But be careful, you might just want to eat it with a spoon!