Creamy Grits with Wild Mushroom Sauce

Hello all!  It’s nice to be back!  After my last post you might have guessed that there was a hurricane related absence forthcoming in One Woman’s Kitchen.  It’s not that I can’t cook with the power out – I have a gas stove.  It’s that I can’t store the inevitable leftovers and I hate washing dishes in the dark.  So, the power is back and so am I.  Sadly, there’s been no grocery run yet as I just today had a chance to Clorox the fridge.  So tonight, instead of a refrigerator dinner – which would have been a lemon, some butter and some barbeque sauce – it’s a pantry dinner.  All items from the non-perishable stock with a little help from the herb garden.

Here’s the major ingredients list for tonight.  Grits, dried mixed wild mushrooms, beef stock, tomato sauce and an onion.  A dubious start at best, but honestly, I’d make this again.  I’d make some adjustments of course.  If I was catering to a vegetarian audience of course I’d use vegetable stock instead of beef.  I usually make my grits with some milk. Tonight I only had stock and water.  Some fresh mushrooms would be really nice, but the dried mix was pretty yummy.  The tomato sauce I made and canned myself so I can’t do better than that.  I’d use fresh garlic instead of powder, but whatever.  So really, not too many adjustments.  This is a good dish.

When you’re working with dried mushrooms be sure that you soak them long enough to soften.  They’ll be  a little chewy when they’re done, but you don’t want them to be tough.  I chopped mine before I added them to the sauce.  That way you don’t lose any flavor, but it helps with any texture issues you might have.  Of course the longer you cook the sauce the richer the flavor will be.  As it cooks down you may need to add more liquid to loosen it up.  You have a few choices there. If you havae more tomato sauce you can use that.  If not you can use the leftover beef stock or you can use the water you soaked the mushrooms in.  It will have a nice earthy flavor. 

One note about grits if they aren’t a staple in your house.  Be sure to salt the water.  Seriously.  Salt.  The.  Water.  If you don’t, no amount of salt will save them after they’re cooked.  With enough salt and a little butter these grits were almost as good as if I’d had milk in the house.  If you prefer, or are pressed for time, you can use tube polenta instead.  Slice it and grill it until it’s heated through.  Under no circumstances should you use instant grits.  Ever.  For anything.  The quick cooking kind are fine, but never instant.  That would just be wrong.

So, what really put this dish over the edge?  The fresh parsley I managed to find among the weeds in the herb garden.  These few sprigs added the most perfect sweet, green touch to the dish.  Yum.  Definitely worth a try!

Good? Surprisingly good.
Easy? Definitely.
Good for company? In a pinch. Normally I’d plan a little better for having company.
Special shopping? Not here. You may not keep an exotic wild mushroom mix in your pantry though. You should be able to find a good one at your local health food store, Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s I would think.

Creamy Grits with Wild Mushroom Sauce

Ingredients

4 oz. dried mushrooms
boiling water

1 C grits
2 C beef stock
1 C water
salt

1 onion, diced
1 C tomato sauce
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp garlic powder
3 T fresh chopped parsley

Directions

Boil enough water to cover the dried mushrooms. Place the mushrooms in a heat proof bowl. Pour in the boiling water. Cover the bowl. Let sit 30-45 minutes.

Bring the beef stock and water to a boil. Stir in the grits and salt. Cover the pot and simmer on low, stirring frequently, until the grits are soft, but not gummy.

Saute the onions in the olive oil. When the onions are soft add the wine. Stir until the wine is almost evaporated. Add the tomato sauce, thyme and garlic powder. Drain the mushrooms, reserving the liquid. Chop the mushroom and add them to the sauce pan. Cook until heated through. Serve over the grits.

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One Response to “Creamy Grits with Wild Mushroom Sauce”

  1. Stephanie Says:

    Wait a minute… should I salt the water:)
    So glad that you have power again. We’ve been doing our own post-Irene cooking it’s just less dramatic than yours and must less noteworthy. Can’t wait to catch up.

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