Sunday, October 2, 2011

Not Your Ordinary Brunch

These recipes are from Bon Appetit. They are not your ordinary brunch recipes and that’s what I loved about them. 
Sometimes it’s great to make non-traditional dishes because they always win over your guests. They are expecting Eggs Benedict (YUM!) and they get Shrimp Grits instead. They are not fact, they are delighted. After all – how often do you get shrimp and grits for breakfast? Yes – I LOVE something different!

How could I resist this Southern dish? Ever since cheese grits became a part of our Christmas breakfast tradition, this combination got me curious the minute I spotted the recipe. I wasn’t even sure that I was going to love it until the first bite. Again, it was the photo that convinced me that I needed to try it.

I could not find yellow grits (one time I wished I were in Tulsa instead of Chicago) but added yellow cheddar instead of white. I also used pancetta and that was the magic!

Shrimp and Grits


1cupyellow grits (not instant)
1cupgrated sharp cheddar
1tablespoonunsalted butter
1jalapeño, seeded, diced
1/4cupheavy cream
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper


1/2cup1/3" cubes tasso, andouille sausage, thick bacon or pancetta
1tablespoonvegetable oil (optional)
3garlic cloves, sliced
2tablespoons(1/4 stick) butter, divided
16large shrimp (about 1 pound), peeled, deveined
1/4cup(or more) beer
1/4cuplow-salt chicken stock
4large eggs
1tablespoonchopped fresh tarragon

Prepare Grits

Bring 3 cups water to a simmer in a large saucepan. Gradually whisk in grits. Turn heat to low; gently simmer until grits begin to thicken. Continue cooking, stirring often and adding water by 1/4 cupfuls if too thick, until tender, about 1 hour. Stir in cheese, butter, and jalapeño, then cream. Season with salt and pepper. Keep warm.


Meanwhile, heat a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Add tasso; sauté until fat begins to render, about 5 minutes (if tasso is very lean, add 1 tablespoon oil to skillet). Add garlic and 1 tablespoon butter; stir until butter melts. Add shrimp. When garlic begins to brown, add beer and chicken stock. Simmer until shrimp is cooked through, about 2 minutes. Remove skillet from heat; set aside.

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add remaining 1 tablespoon butter to skillet; swirl to melt and cover bottom of pan. Crack eggs into pan and cook until whites are just set but yolks are still runny, about 3 minutes.
Divide grits among bowls, forming a well in center. Spoon shrimp mixture into center of grits. Top with egg. Sprinkle tarragon over.
OK – I know the calories in this dish are off the chart. Save it for a cheat day because this recipe is so delicious.

Remember recently when I claimed that I could not make fried chicken? I take it back. In fact, this was some of the best fried chicken I’ve ever made.

Buttermilk is the key and the blend of spices through the flour made for the perfect crust.

I like this recipe without the Country Gravy (and the calories) it was that good.

Chicken Biscuits


6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2" cubes
1/4cupvegetable shortening or lard
4cupsall-purpose flour plus more
2tablespoonsbaking powder
2teaspoonsbaking soda
2teaspoonskosher salt
1teaspoonfreshly ground black pepper
1 3/4cupsbuttermilk


1 1/2cupsbuttermilk
1tablespoonchopped fresh dill
3 1/2teaspoonskosher salt, divided
1 3/4teaspoonsfreshly ground black pepper, divided
Large pinch of cayenne pepper
10small boneless, skin-on chicken thighs
Vegetable oil (for frying)
1cupall-purpose flour
6tablespoonspeanut oil
1large egg
1tablespoonbaking powder
1 1/4teaspooncayenne pepper
1/2teaspoongarlic powder
1/2teaspoononion powder
10 slices cheddar (optional)


Preheat oven to 400°. Place butter and shortening in freezer for 10 minutes.
Blend 4 cups flour and next 5 ingredients in a food processor. Add butter and shortening. Pulse mixture until it resembles coarse meal, 20–25 pulses. Transfer mixture to a large bowl. Gradually add buttermilk while tossing mixture with a fork (mixture will not be completely incorporated). Knead in bowl with lightly floured hands just until dough forms, about 3 turns.
Transfer dough to a lightly floured surface. Pat out dough until 1" thick. Lift 1 side and fold it over. Gently repeat 5 more times. Roll dough to 3/4"-thick round. Using a 3" biscuit cutter, cut biscuits from dough. Gather scraps and repeat patting out and cutting biscuits for a total of 10 biscuits.
Place biscuits on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet, spaced 1"–2" apart. Bake until golden brown and a tester inserted horizontally comes out clean, 12–15 minutes. Transfer biscuits to a wire rack; let cool slightly. Serve warm or at room temperature.
DO AHEAD Can be made 8 hours ahead.
Let cool completely. Store airtight at room temperature. Rewarm before serving.

Fried Chicken

Whisk buttermilk, dill, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, 1 teaspoon pepper, and cayenne in a large bowl. Add chicken; turn to coat. Cover; chill at least 3 hours or overnight.
Pour vegetable oil in a large pot to a depth of 2". Attach a deep-fry thermometer to side of pot. Heat oil over medium heat to 350°.
Whisk 1 1/4 cups water with remaining 2 teaspoons salt, remaining 3/4 teaspoon pepper, flour, and next 6 ingredients in a large bowl. Drain chicken well; pat dry with paper towels. Working in batches, dip chicken into batter. Fry chicken, turning occasionally, until skin is crispy and golden brown and chicken is just cooked through, 9–12 minutes per batch. Drain chicken on paper towels.
Split biscuits in half; place 1 bottom half on each plate. Top each with a cheese slice, if desired, then a chicken thigh.

Spoon Sausage Gravy over chicken, if desired. Place biscuit top over.