Meredith Brokaw, the wife of Tom Brokaw, has a new cookbook out titled Big Sky, a collection of recipes from, and inspired by, her family ranch in Montana. I spoke with her last week on Chowhounds, and she graciously shared this recipe with me. It’s great with ham and eggs in the morning, or with grilled leg of lamb and a tomato salad. Look for Meredith in the Twin Cities on Wednesday as she makes the round on the book promo circuit.
Lala's Cheese Grits
Lala is Laurie Buffett McGuane, a sister of Jimmy Buffett. The whole Buffett family is into food. Jimmy created his Margaritaville restaurants, which are now all over the world. His sister Lulu’s restaurant in Gulf Shores, Alabama, called Lulu’s at Homeport, is famous for its gumbo. Laurie knows all about hearty western food, but tips her southern hand when she entertains, especially when she serves this dish.
1 t. olive oil
8 T. (1 stick) butter
3 garlic cloves, minced
5 c. water
1-1/4 c. regular grits
3 large eggs
8 oz. extra-sharp cheddar, grated
8 oz. pepper-jack cheese, grated
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 2- or 3-quart baking dish and set it aside. In a small skillet over medium heat, heat olive oil and 1 T. butter. When butter foams, add garlic. Cook, stirring, until garlic is lightly browned. Set aside. Heat water in a large saucepan over high heat until boiling. Reduce heat and, with a whisk, slowly stir in grits. Continue stirring until mixture has thickened slightly; it should be the consistency of thick tomato sauce. Cube remaining 7 T. butter and add to the grits, a few pieces at a time, whisking to get a velvety texture. In a small bowl, lightly beat eggs. Stir in a few teaspoons of hot grits. Pour eggs back into grits and stir quickly. Stir in cheeses and garlic. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Pour grits into the prepared baking dish. Bake on middle rack until grits are set and center is solid, about 1 hour and 15 minutes. Serves 6 to 8.