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Friday, October 7

Making it a home

I've been cooking like a mad person in our "new" kitchen. After some of the experiences (finding an apartment after seeing 16, not getting internet and still not having internet, washer isn't delivered on time), I've been inspired to release my creative juices in the kitchen. Comforting meals is just what we need. Cornmeal slow cooking in a saucepan while the meat braises in a skillet is the ultimate comfort food.

I always knew that stone ground grits could be interchanged with polenta and vise versa. (Polenta is the name of an Italian dish made of cornmeal.)

Last year when a friend returned from her North Carolina trip with a pound of stone ground grits, I was thoroughly content. We made shrimp and grits few times while living in the US, however I never remembered to use the grits in place of polenta, until Germany. Moving to Germany changed many things but one thing I recalled (learning in culinary school) was stone ground grits can be used to make polenta.

So here is a simple recipe for Polenta using stone ground grits and instead of shrimp, I made it with braised chicken, just as good.

Leeky Grits (No pun intended)

1 tablespoon butter
1 leeks (white and pale green parts only), thinly sliced, cleaned*
1/2 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 cup water
1 cup milk
1/2 cup stone ground grits
Salt & Pepper to taste
1 teaspoon chopped parsley

Melt the butter in a heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add leeks, and cook for 3 minutes, while stirring constantly. Add garlic and jalapeno pepper and continue to cook for 1 more minute. Add water and milk and bring the liquid to boil. Gradually whisk in grits. Add salt and pepper. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook until mixture is thick and creamy, stirring often. Add more water if necessary for thinning. Cook the grits, covered for about 30 minutes. Remove from heat and garnish with chopped parsley. Serve immediately.

*Leeks have a lot of dirt inside them. My best technique is to slice them thinly and soaking them in a bowl of water. Remove the leeks from the bowl with your hands by picking them up out of the water; don’t dump the water out with the leeks in a colander, the dirt will come out with the leeks. Repeat until the water is clear and no dirt or sand is settling at the bottom of the bowl.

Braised Chicken with Polenta or Grits

2 pieces of bone-in, dark chicken, (leg and thigh bone jointed)
1 tablespoon clarified butter
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 small jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 cup ripe tomatoes, chopped
2 teaspoons chopped parsley
Salt & Pepper to taste

Season chicken with salt and pepper, on both sides.

Heat clarified butter in a medium skillet on medium heat, add the chicken, skin side down and brown on each side for 3-4 minutes. While the chicken is still in the pan, add the garlic and jalapeno pepper. Cook for 1 minute, making sure the garlic doesn’t burn.

Add wine and simmer until reduced by half. Add the salt and pepper, tomatoes, lower the heat and cover the skillet with the lid. Cook the chicken in the simmering liquid, basting every 5 minutes. Cook until the thighs are tender, about 20 minutes. Uncover and continue to cook for 5-8 more minutes. Sprinkle with parsley (I was heavy handed on the parsley; use only 2 teaspoons). Serve over cooked grits. This is also great with egg noodles or pasta.


  1. I agree - nothing else makes a house feel more like a home than a slow-cooked meal made from scratch. I can almost smell the food coming out of your kitchen :)

  2. You understand that cooking is so soothing so I like getting in there to do what I love. Thank you for the comment, I wish you were here to enjoy some of our vegetarian meals.