We’ve had a busy, post-Spring Break week, and dinner each night has been a thrown-together affair as I try to get some traction against the overflowing to-do list. My dryer latch broke last weekend, and though the fix was easy, I had to wait until the appliance parts store opened on Monday to do so. You know what that means, right? My laundry pile was left unattended for three straight days, which means it ate my laundry room. It took me an additional three days to dig my way back in.
When things get this nutty, I dig way back into my cooking memory for all of those fast meals I made when I was still working fulltime. I invented quite a few bizarre dishes during my career days, blending the weeknight rush with my desperate attempts to combine the items I had on hand (grocery shopping was hit and miss). This dish may seem weird to start, but the smoky sausage pairs well with sweet, slightly crunchy peppers, and the creamy cheese grits bring it all together. It could also be a great brunch dish if paired with something a little sweet. Here’s how I did it (with crappy iPhone pics to affirm my crazy day), and I’ll post the recipe with quantities at the end of this post for easy reference:
First, I assembled the ingredients, which was a couple of packages of smoked sausage links, bell peppers, onions, quick-cooking grits, chicken broth, salt, olive oil, and some Velveeta.
I immediately set the chicken broth in a sauce pan with a dash of salt to boil, since getting anything to boil takes the most amount of time. I also placed a couple of tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet and set it on medium-high heat. Next, I sliced the sausage into 1/2-inch pieces on the bias:
Then threw it into the skillet with the olive oil to brown, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, I thinly sliced the pepper and onion:
Once the sausage was browned, I removed it from the skillet to a paper towel-lined plate. I added a couple more tablespoons of olive oil to the skillet, and added the peppers and onions to sauté. While that cooked, I added the grits to the boiling chicken stock, stirring for about 10 minutes until thickened. I know the box says five minutes, but it’s a lying liar who lies. Unless you like watery grits, don’t trust the box; If you do, go make yourself some cream of wheat, you weirdo.
Anyway, once the onions were translucent and the peppers had softened up a bit, I added the sausage back into the skillet and stirred the whole mess together:
Last, I cubed the Velveeta and stirred it into the grits until melted. I then removed the grits from the heat, and let them sit for about 5 minutes to thicken up a bit more, stirring occasionally. If I had served the grits immediately, they still would have been too runny (and hot). Letting them rest for a few minutes tightens them up to the right consistency:
Finally, I spooned the grits onto a plate, and topped with the sausage mixture. The creaminess of the grits is almost sauce-like, but the texture is right on.
Smoked Sausage With Sweet Peppers and Creamy Cheese Grits
- 2 packages of smoked sausage links (whatever kind you like), sliced into 1/2-inch pieces on the bias
- 4 Tbs olive oil, divided
- 2 large red bell peppers, thinly sliced
- 2 medium onions, thinly sliced
- 1-1/2 cups quick-cooking grits (NOT INSTANT)
- 5-1/2 cups chicken broth
- 8 ounces Velveeta, cubed
- 1/2 tsp. salt
Place chicken broth in a medium-size sauce pan over high heat, and bring to a boil.
Meanwhile, heat 2 Tbs of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add sausage and cook until well-browned. Remove sausage to a paper towel-lined plate. Add remaining olive oil to skillet, then add bell peppers and onions, cooking until onions are translucent and bell peppers have slightly softened.
While the vegetables sauté, add salt and grits to chicken broth, whisking well to avoid clumps. Reduce heat to medium, and cook for 10 minutes or until thickened, stirring often. If mixture bubbles up too much, reduce to medium-low heat. Add cubed Velveeta, and stir until melted. Remove grits from heat, allow to cool for 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally during cooling.
Return sausage to skillet with vegetables, and stir to combine. Spoon grits onto serving plates, then spoon sausage mixture over grits. Pat yourself on the back, make a cocktail, and eat up.