Grits with Eggs and Red Sauce

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Many years ago I came across a recipe for grits with eggs and a red sauce. It was similar to shakshuska, a Middle Eastern dish of baked eggs in red sauce, shown below, but with grits!

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I never had grits until my husband and I visited Charleston, South Carolina, for business a long time ago. We ate at a lovely restaurant And I hesitantly ordered shrimp with grits. I think I assumed grits would be too “corny” for me, but they’re not. They’re lovely, and just as much fun to cook as risotto. Below are pumpkin grits I made last fall. So many variations are possible.
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For grits, I prefer the coarse-grained variety, which do take longer to cook, but I prefer the texture. I’ve noticed that the words “polenta” and “grits” are both on the package now!

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There used to be much confusion about the difference, but there is no difference. To make it more complicated, grits and polenta are also called cornmeal.

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Grits with Eggs in Red Sauce
Adapted from Baked Eggs in Creamy Polenta and Pepperoni Tomato Sauce

3 cups water
3 tablespoons butter
1 cup grits
Approximately 1/2 cup cream
Red Sauce
4 tablespooons butter
4 eggs
Goat or feta cheese, optional

Place the water and butter in a deep pot over high heat. When the water boils, add the grits.

Stir, and continue to stir, with the heat on medium. I always have about a cup of water handy to add to the grits as they thicken. It seems that more liquid is required than what is stated on the package recipe.

After about 10 minutes or so, when the grits have cooked about halfway, add cream. Continue to cook the grits, and add even more water if necessary.
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When you feel the grits aren’t thickening up anymore, set them aside.

Make the eggs sunny-side up, over-easy, poached, or soft-boiled. It’s your choice. I used 1 tablespoon of butter per egg and cooked them sunny-side up in a skillet. Add a little dab of butter right before they’re fully cooked.

To serve, spoon the grits into a pasta bowl.
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Place some heated red sauce over the grits and, using a spoon, form a hole in the middle.

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Then place the cooked egg in the hole along with any butter from the skillet.

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Crumble some goat cheese and sprinkle on top.
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You can also add chopped chives or parsley.

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It’s a wonderful and hearty breakfast, but I’d certainly eat this for dinner as well!
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If you wanted to bake the eggs in the grits, like in the original recipe, you must use an oven-proof serving dish or prepare all four servings in a skillet.
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But I would make sure that the grits are first on the runny side. They will thicken – especially in the oven.
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67 thoughts on “Grits with Eggs and Red Sauce

    • I guess we’ve all had them in the South! Fortunately I had a good experience. I was worried about liking them because as much as I like corn, I’m more fond of flour tortillas then corn tortillas. But grits can be so so good!!!

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  1. That looks great. I’ve only had grits once, in Virginia, and I hated them (it was breakfast) but I love polenta. Maybe they were just badly cooked? I didn’t realise they were the same thing.

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    • Maybe because they aren’t that appealing for breakfast? Unless the way I made them with the other goodies. And depending how long ago you had them, they might have just been cooked in water and served plain. Ugh. Fortunately, trends in “gourmet” cooking have turned them into something more appealing and sophisticated!

      Liked by 1 person

      • It was some years ago. The grits I had were very bland so yes, perhaps you’re right and they’d been cooked plain. Yours, on the other hand, look and sound delicious.

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  2. Funny how in the US grits are a breakfast disn whereas in Europe, polenta (grits) is a dinner dish. This sounds great but I would eat it for lunch or dinner.

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  3. Many years ago I was outside of Madison Georgia when I asked a waitress in a local diner, what is grits? She turned around laughing pointing at me saying to the people in the diner, this lady wants to know what is grits?
    Your dish looks great and I love polenta. I am experimenting with soaking the polenta before cooking it. Have a great week.

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    • My, and I thought Southerners were supposed to be polite! That’s so rude. I have soaked cornmeal and even oatmeal or cereal grain combinations to boost the hydration time. It works well!

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  4. This is something different; definitely great to have for breakfast. I might give it a try tomorrow. I have all the ingredients, except the goat cheese. I might just add any shredded cheese and melt it in the oven and use Korean red pepper sauce. Thanks for sharing. :)

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  5. A great dish, Mimi and you solved our question. The last time I made this dish — we call it “Eggs in Purgatory” — both Zia and I commented that it would be good served over polenta. Now I can tell her that I’ve evidence that yes, indeed, that it is very tasty atop polenta. We both thank you. :)

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  6. I love grits and to me they taste different from cornmeal or polenta, less corny maybe because I get the Quacker grits and they are white unlike polenta. Your dish is wonderful, I love the red sauce and runny egg. It’s a perfect breakfast or meal any time of day.

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  7. LOL. I wasn’t expecting this to be a breakfast dish until all the way to the end. And I should know better after just having been to the US for a week. I was surprised when I got fried potatoes with the Eggs Benedict I had ordered for breakfast when we were staying at a hotel that did not serve breakfast and we went out because I do need to eat something in the morning.
    Anyway, nice dish!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. That is where I tried “my” first grits too Mimi, in the Carolina’s and just like you I had shrimp ‘n grits. And girl, I’ve been hooked since. Your version with red sauce made me drool this am. I certainly would eat them for dinner too!

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