GrecoSoCo Grits & Black-Eyed Pea Gravy

Another Greek Heritage Cooking and Southern food MASH UP! Another GrecoSoCo recipe. This time it's my favorite grits, Jimmy Red Corn, and the Greek black-eyed pea soup that I love and turned into a soupy stew, a.k.a. gravy.

Meat sauce or vegan gravy?

Recently we had invited friends Angela and Charles to dinner. They are vegetarians. We also had another two friends joining us, and they, just like us, are omnivores. How to please everyone? Good question.

Plenty of vegan and vegetarian options in my repertoire--that's what we had for dinner most of the time during my early years in Greece and growing up years in Australia. But, how to take those one-pot vegetarian meals and make everybody happy. This post is about the main part of that meal, a base of some of the best stone-milled grits you've ever had, and a gravy of black-eyed peas with tomatoes, onion, garlic, olive oil and oregano. Interested? You can find the printable recipe here.

The gravy can be cooked the day before. When it cools down, put the entire pot in the refrigerator and bring it out a couple of hours before your dinner. Cook the grits, and when they're almost ready to serve, heat the pot of gravy for about 15 minutes, carefully stirring to avoid scorching.

Don't hurry the grits. Yes, don't get pushy! In my experience, the grits will tell you when they're ready, all plump and hydrated, properly salted and ready for the best butter you can source. Don't add the butter until the grits tell you. If they're still crunchy, keep on cooking and stirring. Keep adding boiling hot liquid--just a bit at a time--and stirring until they've absorbed all the milk and water that you've added. Once that's done, taste to make sure you have enough salt and adjust to your palate. The grits will still have texture, but they'll be creamy too. That's when you'll add more butter than any good recipe will admit to. 

The heritage grits that were almost lost to us.

And by all means, use your favorite grits, but this is one of my favorites--Jimmy Red Corn grits from Marsh Hen Mill in Edisto Island, South Carolina, a miller and purveyor of integrity with a fabulous story-telling ability, a great sense of humor and a historic mill. Actually, it's Greg Johnsman and his wife, Betsy, who have those wonderful attributes, but they own the business, so I suppose it's okay to mash it all together.

A bowl filled with a mash up of Southern and Greek cooking traditions.

One final note. Please, please, please do not add cheese to the grits. They are bold and beautiful and utterly delicious on their own. Save the cheese for instant grits--they'll need it.


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