Greens, Andouille sausage and grits. Three quintessential ingredients of the Deep South.
Those Southerners know how to cook. They really do. There are so many influences in Southern cuisine (French, Spanish and African are prominent) and the various styles and flavors come together beautifully in so many dishes. I think the South must have been the first to really capture what "comfort food" is all about.
This past summer my husband and two little ones took a weeklong vacation to the Deep South. We covered so much territory and saw many sights. But aside from sightseeing, eating lots and lots of local food is one of the best parts of a vacation. And eat lots of it we did! My bathroom scale is evidence of that. I gained 5 pounds in a week! I knew in advance what I'd be getting into though, so it was all good. I already had a diet plan in place for when I got back. Boy, was that food worth every pound!
And I discovered the secret to why Southern food is so dang good. They put bacon grease in everything! Like I said, those Southerners know how to cook.
And while this dish isn't saturated with bacon, it does feature another Southern hallmark – Andouille sausage. Fabulous! And if you can get your hands on the real deal (hard to find for us Northerners), so much the better. This spicy Southern sausage is browned and tossed with caramelized onions, wilted kale, and flavored with Cajun seasonings. This is served on top of creamy, cheesy grits – another Southern classic. Comfort food? You'd better believe it! And you can cook the grits while you're preparing the sausage and greens and be sitting down to enjoy this in less than 30 minutes.
So even if you won't be flying south for Mardi Gras this year, you can still enjoy some fabulous Southern cuisine in your own kitchen.
So get your Cajun on and "Laissez le bon temps rouler"!
First, gather up your ingredients.
Bring the milk, chicken broth, salt and pepper to a boil in a medium saucepan. Gradually whisk in the cornmeal. Decrease the heat to low, cover and cook for about 20 minutes, whisking every three minutes to prevent lumps and scorching.
The grits will become thick very quickly. This is normal and that's the consistency you want.
Remove from heat and add the butter. Whisk until combined.
Add the cheese and whisk until combined.
While the grits are cooking, get to work on the sausage and greens. First, make the Cajun seasoning by placing all the spices in a coffee or spice grinder. Grind until it's a fine powder.
Slice the Andouille sausage, about 1/4-inch thick.
In a skillet over medium-high heat, heat the olive oil and brown the sausage on both sides.
Add the onion and two teaspoons of Cajun seasoning.
Cook the onions until soft and translucent and beginning to brown, 5-7 minutes.
While the onions are cooking, cut the hard stalks off from the kale and discard. Chop up the kale and add it to the sausage and onions. Then add the chicken broth and cover to cook for 3-4 minutes or until the kale is wilted and tender.
Add more Cajun seasoning, cayenne pepper, and salt if desired. Serve immediately on top of the warm cheese grits.
Come check out more fabulously flavorful eats at The Daring Gourmet!