Thanksgiving 2013 – Garlic Cheese Grits And Spinach Souffle

cheese grits and spinach

Let’s face it – Thanksgiving is all about carbs. I can’t just settle for mashed potatoes and mac and cheese — I must serve cheese grits as well!

This is a wonderful recipe. It combines the essence of the traditional cheese grits casserole with the sophistication of a spinach souffle. Your vegetarian guests will thank you!

Honey is a natural flavor enhancer. While there is only one tablespoon in this recipe, the honey makes the souffle tastier without making it sweet.

Yield: 12 generous servings

Ingredients:

1½ teaspoons plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

½ cup finely grated Parmesan

3 2/3 cups milk (not skim)

1 cup stone-ground or old-fashioned grits

Salt and black pepper

1½ cups grated sharp cheddar

1 tablespoon honey

1 clove garlic, minced

1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce

4 large eggs, separated, at room temperature

6 ounces baby spinach leaves (7½ cups loosely packed)

6 scallions thinly sliced (2/3 cup), 1 tablespoon reserved

Directions:  Grease a 2-quart souffle dish with 1½ teaspoons butter, dust with 3 tablespoons of the Parmesan, and set aside.

In a medium non-stick saucepan bring the milk and the 2 tablespoons of butter to a simmer over medium heat. Add the grits in a slow, steady stream, stirring constantly. Add 1 teaspoon salt, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook, stirring, until grits are thick and begin to pull away from the sides of the pan when you stir, 7 to 10 minutes.

Remove pan from heat and stir in 1¼ cups of the cheddar, the remaining Parmesan, honey, garlic, hot pepper sauce, and black pepper to taste. Set aside to cool slightly, about 15 minutes. Taste the grits and adjust the seasoning, if necessary. Add the egg yolks one at a time, stirring vigorously to incorporate each before adding the next. Stir in the spinach by handfuls.

With an electric mixer, beat the egg whites until they are thick and glossy and hold stiff peaks. Add a quarter of the whites to the grits mixture and, using a spatula, stir until just combined. Add remaining whites and rapidly but gently fold them in along with the scallions.

Spoon the batter into the prepared dish, smooth, sprinkle with the remaining cheddar, and bake at 450 degrees for 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to 375 degrees and continue baking until the souffle is puffed, golden brown, and barely jiggles when you shake the pan, 35 to 40 minutes longer. Sprinkle with reserved scallions and serve at once.

Best Thanksgiving Leftovers – Turkey Shepherd’s Pie

In England a popular short joke regarding shepherd’s pie is a recipe which starts like this: “to make shepherd’s pie, do the following — get two shepherds and mince them”.

This recipe is shepherd-free…

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

4 teaspoons olive oil

1 cup chopped yellow onions

2 carrots, peeled and chopped (about 1 cup)

1 tablespoon honey

1/8 teaspoon crushed red peppers

1/4 teaspoon plus 1/8 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 teaspoon minced garlic

4 ounces mushrooms, stemmed, wiped clean, and sliced

1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves

1 bay leaf

1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons tomato paste

2 to 2 1/2 cups chopped or shredded roast turkey (white and/or dark meat)

1 1/4 cups chicken stock or canned chicken broth

1/2 cup green peas

4 cups leftover mashed potatoes or Basic Mashed Potatoes, recipe follows

3/4 cup grated sharp or medium Cheddar

Chopped parsley leaves, for garnish

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly grease a 9-inch square or 2.2 quart baking dish with the butter and set aside.

In a large saute pan or skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions, carrots, red peppers, salt, and pepper and cook, stirring, until the onions are soft, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 20 seconds. Add the mushrooms, thyme, and bay leaf and cook, stirring, until the mushrooms are soft, 3 to 4 minutes.

Add the flour and cook, stirring, until thick, about 1 minute. Stir in the tomato paste and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the meat and stir well to combine. Gradually add the stock, honey, and then the peas, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the mixture is thickened, 6 to 8 minutes.

Remove from the heat and discard the bay leaf. Carefully transfer to the prepared dish and spoon the potatoes over the meat mixture, spreading to the edges. Sprinkle with the cheese and bake until the cheese is bubbly and the potatoes are crisp around the edges, 22 to 25 minutes.

Let sit for 10 minutes before serving. Garnish with chopped parsley and serve.

Basic Mashed Potatoes:

2 pounds potatoes, peeled, quartered, cut into 1-inch wedges

3/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup milk

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

3 tablespoons heavy cream

1 tablespoon honey

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Place the potatoes in a medium, heavy saucepan with enough salted water to cover by 1-inch. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer until the potatoes are fork tender, about 25 minutes.

Drain in a colander and return to the saucepan. Over medium-low heat, cook the potatoes for 1 minute to dry. Add the milk, butter, cream, honey, salt and pepper and mash until smooth, 3 to 4 minutes. Serve immediately.

Yield: 4 to 6 servings