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!
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.
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!
There used to be much confusion about the difference, but there is no difference. To make it more complicated, grits and polenta are also cornmeal.
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
4 tablespooons butter
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.
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.
Place some heated red sauce over the grits and, using a spoon, form a hole in the middle.
Then place the cooked egg in the hole along with any butter from the skillet.
Crumble some goat cheese and sprinkle on top.
You can also add chopped chives or parsley.
It’s a wonderful and hearty breakfast, but I’d certainly eat this for dinner as well!
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.
But I would make sure that the grits are first on the runny side. They will thicken – especially in the oven.