Tuesday, September 28, 2010

More Pickles + Cheese Grits Chile Rellenos = WOW!

While still writing the second (and uber lengthy) blog post about my trip to South Africa, I once again want to share two new pickling recipes and an amazing dish of cheese grits chiles rellenos with roasted tomato gravy.  These lovely dishes come courtesy of Matt and Ted Lee and their The Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook.

After spending a lot of time in the Lee Bros. lastest cookbook, Simple Fresh Southern, I went back and dug up some of their pickling recipes from their first book.  The two that caught my eye were the pickled peaches and pickled corn, and the backstories behind each dish from Matt and Ted make it that much more fun to cook.

Both pickling recipes were a little more time consuming than what is offered in Simple, Fresh, Southern.  The peaches called for soaking them in ice cold water for 20+ mins, placing them in a boiling pot of water for 1 minute, dipping them back in the ice cold water and then gently peeling off the skin that had been loosened from the cooling and heating process.  Instead of just packing the peaches into a jar, you poach them in a syrup of sugar, cider vinegar, cinnamon, cloves and ginger- which then becomes the hot syrup you pour over the peaches in their jar.
The pickled corn was simpler, but still called for the corn to sit in the liquid prior to placing in the quart sized jars.  After setting aside 4 cups of sweet corn tossed with salt in a bowl, you heat distilled white vinegar, water, sugar, tumeric, mace and cloves for 20 minutes as it simmers on the stove top.  From there you add the corn, bringing it to a boil for a quick 5 minutes.  Finally, remove the corn with a slotted spoon and place into the jar, pouring the liquid over the corn.

I recently treated myself to a care package from Zingerman's and part of that order included Anson Mills slow cooked gritsThe Lee Bros Southern Cookbook packs a host of delicious grits recipes.  I had been partial to the slab bacon and cheddar broiled grits, but in the interests in trying to be a little bit healthier I chose the cheese-grits chiles rellenos with roasted tomato gravy.

The Lee Bros. present a great base to all of their grits dishes, and that base is their simple grits recipe.  From there I layered in the cheese to get cheese grits (see picture to the right).  The cheese grits then become the base you stuff poblano peppers with.

At the same time you prepare the grits, also place a large tomato, the poblano peppers, onion and garlic on a roasting pan and cover them with olive oil and salt.  After lathering up the veggies, place them in the oven to broil, turning the peppers every three minutes for 9 minutes total time in the oven.  When you pull the veggies out they should be blistered and black.  From here you separate the peppers in their own large bowl (picture below on the left) and put the other veggies in a medium bowl (picture below right), allowing them to rest and come to room temp.

Once the peppers have cooled, you get the fun task of massaging them and removing their skin.  After the skin is removed, cut a 3 inch slit removing the seeds and veins.  I struggled a bit with delicate pepper after removing the skin, ripping the peppers a bit and puncturing holes all the way through them.  The good news is this didn't seem to damage the final product.

With the peppers now open, scoop in 1/2 c. of the cheese grits as a filling.

In the meantime, tend to the rest of your veggies and remove the skins from the tomato and garlic.  Take the tomato, garlic and onion and briefly blend them in a food processor to create a chunky puree, your roasted tomato gravy, to pour over the peppers and cheese grits.

From here you are almost done, just pop the stuffed peppers in the oven on 400 for 15 minutes.  Quickly flip the oven to broil and sprinkle 1/2c of grated xtra sharp cheddar cheese on top of the peppers and let the cheese brown, 2-3 minutes is all.  Then serve these tasty puppies up!!!  (See a couple pics of the finalized dish below)

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