Old fashioned creamy grits 

Here comes another story about the woes of being a Cajun gal transplanted into redneck territory. Yep. I did not grow up eating grits. I mean, my mama bought the box of Quaker grits now and then, pretty sure at my request, and I would eat them. But as far as cooking grits that would make people swoon and keel over from utter delight…negative. Big Daddy grew up on the Quaker grits as well. We went on with life, eating grits from the package and all was well. Nothing was missing. Or was it? I attempted to make real grits a few times, made grits to go with shrimp and grits (working on my favorite recipe that for those who have asked) but they were not life changing, where have you been all my life grits…until a few months ago I had never experienced such a thing. I came across a recipe from Saveur magazine on Pinterest for the best grits. I thought…challenge accepted. Let’s just see. Holy schnikes Batman…true to its word, that recipe delivered the creamiest, most wonderful, mannah from Heaven grits. I started out by taking advice and getting stone ground grits. Those are not easy to come by here in Shreveport. I am sure they are carried somewhere around here or near you…but it is just as easy to order them from Amazon. The ones I found were perfect and I have had to reorder them already. Here is the link https://www.amazon.com/dp/B009HHNUUE/ref=cm_sw_r_awd_FxTcvb1YMQAHR. A bag of these makes about 6 batches of the grits I am about to give you the recipe for. They are well worth the $12, especially if you have Amazon prime.  

 Every Sunday morning, I try really hard to make my family a big breakfast. Big daddy is a breakfast lover from way back and my kids love it too. We make fried eggs, bacon, sausage, toast and these grits. My picky child (my Benny Boo) absolutely requests these grits on a weekly basis. He had not eaten grits since was 2 (and those were the Quaker instant grits), but one day he saw the bag of grits I had ordered and he decided to try them out. Man, he fell hard. That boy has good taste I tell you. No matter which side of the grits fence you fall on, I strongly recommend you branching out and trying this recipe. They are unlike any grits you have ever had. Big Daddy’s pappaw, had a bowl of grits just about every morning for the last 20 years of his life. Deb would pick up the big variety box from Sam’s and he would be a happy camper. I only wish he could try the utter delight that are these grits. I know it would put a smile on his always pleasant face. I am quite certain whatever beef he ever had with me (mouthy, sassy, Catholic)…much of that has been forgiven since I am passing on a love of grits to his great grands. There is power in the grits my friends. You will not be disappointed!!!

my favorite grits lover that ever lived

Old fashioned creamy grits 

Serves 6 

Stuff you need~ 

2 cups water 

2 cups milk 

1 cup stone ground grits 

1 teaspoon kosher salt 

1/4 cup heavy cream 

2 tablespoons real butter

What to do with the stuff~

Heat the water and milk in a heavy bottomed saucepan until just simmering. 

While the water milk mixture is heating up, add the grits to a large mixing bowl. Cover with water. 

Stir vigorously until the chaff  floats to the top.  Strain the chaff from the grits with a spoon. 

Drain the grits with a fine strainer.

Now please don’t be deterred by such a step. I am not sure why we do this, but the result is so wonderful that I stopped questioning it. It’s easy peasy once you get used to it.  

Stir grits into the simmering liquid.  Cook in the liquid until grits are tender.  The recipe says it takes about an hour but I have not found it to take this long. I sprinkle in some kosher salt when they are close to being done.

Then when they are tender but still simmering, I slowly pour in the half and half. 

Then stir, stir, stir…but gently though. Take care with such perfection. They should be the perfect consistency at this point but if not stir in a little more cream. Add more kosher salt to taste and then the butter.  You are so close to grits perfection. 

Spoon the grits into a bowl and prepare yourself for delight. I mean it people…these are life changing grits. They separate true Southerners from people who simply live in the South. Even if you live in New York and have never stepped foot in the South, you are a southerner at heart when you eat these grits.  Welcome to Dixie my friends. 

add a little black pepper for good measure, Pappaw would approve

Chicken fricassee and sweet tomato gravy and a Saturday with great friends

Growing up, we would go to Momou and Grandpa’s for Sunday lunch at least once a month.  And so many times she would fix chicken fricasse, sweet tomato gravy, rice and gravy, potato salad, her macaroni and cheese, petite pois and the ever present brown and serve rolls. When I got older, I was responsible for buttering the rolls before they went in the oven. I always knew when I was called to butter those rolls, lunch was getting close. I can still see the huge bowl of potato salad all gussied up with its sprinkling of Tony’s, sitting there on the white Formica bar right next to the glass pitcher of the BEST sweet tea I have ever had, even to this day. There were so many people packed into that house on those days usually, so many that we had to set up the card table to make room and yet looking back, it never seemed that full. It just seemed homey. 

Now, I will admit that I was not a chicken fricasse fan until I got older. This had a whole lot to do with the fact that when I went to take a peek at was for lunch, there were chicken feet. In the pot. Chicken feet in the pot, ya’ll. I just could not even handle it. You see they had chickens at the time and Momou would just toss the whole bird in the pot. I guess even back then, homey did not play. By homey I mean me.  But by the time I was in high school, she had stopped all that homegrown chicken business and was buying chickens from the store. Sans feet and much more my speed, thank you very much. I am really glad I came around because this meal so something to behold. It is likely on my list of favorites. 

best meal ever

A few weeks ago, our best friends since grad school, Marc and Lolly and  two of their kiddos  came for a visit. My sweet girl turned 10 and they came to celebrate her and also just to visit. It was a good time with excellent company and some pretty excellent food, if I must say so myself. As I have told ya’ll before, Marc is from Eunice and is a dang good cook. Lolly is amazing in the kitchen as well. Anytime we go over there, it is a smorgasbord of food, so when they come here, I like to do it up right. And I think I managed to cook a meal that everyone enjoyed. Momou’s classic fricasse meal pleases another mass of hungry peeps. I cannot wait to see her again and tell her all about it. She took the time a few years ago to write down some requested recipes and I am so glad. It is the easiest recipe to follow and is not hard to make at all. Just like most recipes from the good ole days, this one does not require any exotic ingredients. It’s a feast for your senses and I am telling you, it never disappoints. We followed it up with a red velvet cake for Cookie’s birthday and we were all stuffed to the gills. What a day!!! If every Saturday could be that good, what a wonderful world this would be. It’s a meal to share with beloved friends and family and it is satisfying simplicity at its very finest. 

celebrations are best with our best friends !!!

Using the self timer to take selfies…we are hip and with it! Ha! 

two of our beautiful girls

Now I am including the recipe for sweet tomato gravy because one goes with the other and it is wrong to serve chicken fricasse without sweet tomato gravy. Says me. But of course, it’s not a law or anything so do what you will. If this is your first time to have fricasse then I would absolutely make the sweet tomato gravy as well. You can have the full experience. Go big of go home is what I say. 

Chicken fricasse (French stew) 

Serves about 8 

Stuff you need~

1 fryer, cut up 

About 3/4 jar of Savoie’s roux (1 pint jar)

1 medium onion, chopped 

1/2 bell pepper, chopped 

Ground red pepper,  to taste 

Salt to taste (Momou says NO black pepper in her recipe) 

1/4 cup green onion tops, chopped (or cut with kitchen shears as Mrs. Fern, Marc’s mama, does) 

Chopped parsley (optional) 

da roux!

What to do with the stuff~

Bring about 2 quart of water to a boil in a large pot or Dutch oven. Once boiling, add in roux and stir well until it is completely dissolved.  

let’s get the party started

Add the chopped onion and bell pepper and then lower your fire. Allow this to simmer to low heat for about 1 hour. Add in your chicken once it starts to thicken.

bubbling pot o’ heaven

 Cook until the chicken is good and tender…falling off the bone is more like it). Add in your seasoning to taste.

 Serve over rice, my baby. It’s good. 

Sweet Tomato Gravy

Stuff you need~

1 1/2 cups of water

2 tablespoons Savoie’s roux 

1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce 

Sugar to taste (as Momou says…it takes a good bit)

In a small, heavy bottomed sauce pan, bring water to a boil.  After it comes to a boil, stir in roux. 

the roux ba-bay!

Whisk or stir until it dissolves. Whisk in the tomato sauce. Stir until smooth. 

tomato sauce …what makes sweet tomato gravy what it is!

Lower the heat and stir in sugar to taste. Simmer over low heat until mixture thickens a bit. Sweet tomato gravy…fricasse’s best friend. 

Madame Toot and Momou, the fricasse queen