I love grits and this is one of my favorite Southern meals. In the U.S., we do this dish in the Southern states but you can find variations of it in the Southwest, in Mexico and throughout Latin America. Corn is truly amazing and it’s incredible to think of all the ways we use it in food. When you buy your grits, try to find the stone ground variety.
Total time: 1 Hour
1/2 cup olive oil
1 garlic bulb
1 small eggplant
6 large jalapeños, cut in half with ribs and seeds removed
1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
1 tsp. honey
3 cups milk
1 cup canned crushed tomatoes
1 cup fresh corn kernels
1 cup stone ground grits
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup freshly grated cheddar cheese
Freshly ground pepper
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
2. Coat a baking pan with olive oil. Arrange the garlic bulb, eggplant, jalapeños and sweet potato in the pan—keeping them separate, not tossing them together and roast in the oven for 30 minutes. Remove the jalapeños from the pan and set aside. Drizzle honey over the sweet potato and roast for an additional 10 minutes. When finished, remove the sweet potatoes from the oven and let them cool.
3. Meanwhile, bring the milk, tomatoes, corn, grits, salt and pepper to a simmer in a saucepan. Reduce the heat, grate in the nutmeg and let cook for 40 minutes, stirring often.
4. While the grits cook, cut the eggplant in half. Scrape out the flesh and discard the outer skin. Place the sweet potatoes and eggplant into a blender along with 3 of the roasted garlic cloves and purée.
5. Add the remaining roasted garlic cloves to the simmering grits, continuing to stir often. Divide half of the Parmesan between the puree and the simmering grits. Taste the grits and adjust seasoning.
6. Stuff the roasted jalapeños with the puree, dividing evenly. Sprinkle the jalapeños with the remaining grated Parmesan and cheddar cheese and roast them in the oven for an additional 5 minutes to reheat them and melt the cheese.
7. Divide the grits evenly among 6 bowls and top each bowl with 2 stuffed jalapeños.