Grillades and Grits

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Aside from roast chicken, I don't repeat many main dishes for Sunday dinner.  There are so many seasonal recipes to make and it's hard to resist trying out new ones, too.  I won't be making this dish for quite some time, so I thought I would share the recipe.

Grillades and Grits is good creole comfort food.  It is beef or veal (I prefer the veal) that is pounded very thin, browned on both sides, and simmered in a broth/wine/vegetable mixture. The meat becomes fork tender while the gravy deepens in color and flavor. It is then served over a generous helping of stone ground grits. Garnish with a few chopped green onions for more color and flavor, then give it a few dashes of Tabasco for a kick. Take a fork (no knife needed, but you should use one to be polite at the dinner table:) and dive on in!

Oh, and if you have the time, make the grillades and gravy (not the grits) the day before. As good as it is the day you make it, it really has that "next day better goodness", making it a perfect dish for entertaining.

Grillades and Grits
serves 6-8

For the Grillades
2 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
5 large cloves of garlic, finely minced
2 pounds veal or beef round, sliced into 1/4-inch thick slices
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour for dredging
Unsalted butter and vegetable oil for frying
1 large yellow onion, finely chopped (about 2 cups)
2 medium stalks celery, finely chopped (about 3/4 cup)
1 medium green pepper, trimmed, seeded, and ribs removed; finely chopped (about 3/4 cup)
1 15-ounce can petite-dice tomatoes, drained
1 1/2 cups beef broth
1/3 cup dry red wine (I use a good Cabernet Sauvignon)
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar

For the Grits
2 cups stone ground grits (not the quick cooking)
7 cups water
1 cup heavy cream, half-and-half, or whole milk
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
2 teaspoons kosher salt

For Garnish
2-3 green onions, trimmed and finely sliced
Tabasco to taste

For the Grillades
In a small bowl, combine the salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper, and garlic; set aside.

Place one slice of the veal between two pieces of plastic wrap.  With a meat mallet, pound the meat to an 1/8-inch thickness.  Rub the meat on both sides with a pinch of the reserved garlic mixture.  Set aside and continue with the remaining slices of meat.  Reserve any remaining garlic mixture.

Place the flour in a shallow plate.  In a large dutch oven, melt 2 tablespoons butter and 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high heat.  Dredge a few slices of meat into the flour, tapping to remove excess, and place in the oil to brown on both sides, about 2-3 minutes per side.  Remove the meat to a platter; repeat with the remaining slices, adding extra butter and oil as needed.  Add the onion, celery, green pepper, and any of the remaining garlic mixture to pan and cook, stirring constantly, until the vegetables are tender, about 5-7 minutes.  Pour in the red wine and scrape any browned bits from the bottom of the pan.  Add the stock and stir in the tomatoes.  Return the meat to the pan; reduce the heat to a low simmer.  Cover and cook for 1 1/2 hours.  Uncover and cook until the sauce has slightly reduced and thickened, about 1/2-1 hour longer.  Stir in the vinegar and keep warm until ready to serve.

For the Grits
In a large saucepan, bring the water to a boil.  With a wire whisk, stirring constantly, slowly pour in the grits.  Reduce the heat to medium and continue to stir frequently until the grits thicken slightly, about 6-8 minutes.  Reduce the heat to low and simmer, stirring every 2-3 minutes until the grits are thick and tender.  Whisk in the cream, butter, and salt.  Continue to cook, stirring frequently for another 5-10 minutes.  Season to taste if needed.

Serve the grillades and gravy on top of the grits.  Garnish with sliced green onions and Tabasco to taste.  Enjoy!

Source: Adapted from my mother and La Bouche Creole, by Leon E Soniat, Jr.


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