Monday, October 22, 2012

Chorizo Grit Cakes with Cilantro Cream

These are so versatile! You can switch up the cheese and sausage to fit your taste and the contents of your refrigerator. Keep the flavor profile milk so the saffron can shine.But whatever you do, don't skip the cilantro cream! Delicious! Willie thinks these would taste great with some grilled shrimp and I agree! I think a poached egg might turn this into a fabulous breakfast or brunch dish as well. Now, I will say it was very difficult to find the hard chorizo sausage. Luckily, I have a friend here at 37 Cooks, Shannon Tallman, who directed me to Whole Foods. I met the cheese monger at my local Whole Foods and she was so very helpful! I wish I lived closer, I'd bring her one of these wonderful appetizers!

Chorizo Grit Cakes with Cilantro Cream
by Sandra Simmons
adapted from The Comfort Table cookbook

1/2 cup Spanish hard chorizo sausage, small dice, (Call the cheese monger at your local Whole Foods to see if they carry it. This is what mine looked like.
3 cups vegetable or chicken stock
3 cups milk
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon Marx Foods Sargol Saffron Threads
2 cups grits (You can use stone ground or not but don't use instant. I used Bob's Red Mill Corn Grits.)
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar
1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon pepper
olive oil

Cook the chorizo in a skillet over medium-low or low heat to render all the fat. This can be done while you are making the grits. It does take about 20 minutes or so for all the fat to be rendered. Once done, put the sausage on a few paper towels.

Bring the stock, milk, and salt to a boil over medium high heat and then lower the heat to keep a simmer going. Add the saffron threads and let them release their color. This will take about 3-4 minutes. Add the grits and stir. If you use stone ground grits, it will take about 30 minutes for the liquid to be fully absorbed. I didn't and my grits came together in about 5 minutes. Add the chorizo, shredded cheese, butter, and pepper and stir.

Spoon the grits into a buttered 13x9 baking dish and level and smooth it. Let the grits cool to room temperature and then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

Use a biscuit cutter to cut out the grit cakes. I used a 2 1/2-inch cutter for mine but I will experiment with smaller ones in the future for appetizers. My grit cakes had no standing moisture but if yours to make sure to gently absorb it with paper towels. Heat a saute pan over medium heat. When hot, add 1-2 tablespoons olive oil.  Add the grit cakes and cook for 4 minutes on the first side and 3 1/2 minutes on the second side. Serve with cilantro cream and a generous sprinkle of chopped cilantro.

Cilantro Cream:
1 cup sour cream
1 bunch cilantro, divided
salt & pepper to taste

Pull off a big pinch of cilantro and chop it for garnish. Put all ingredients in a food processor and blend until you have a bright green sauce. Taste and adjust the salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate. Serve with cilantro cakes.


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