1 cup stone-ground grits, polenta or coarse cornmeal
4 cups plus 2 tablespoons chicken, fish, veal or vegetable stock, divided
3 tablespoons butter, divided (2 tablespoons cut into small cubes)
1 pound fresh shiitake mushrooms
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
2 small shallots or 1 large shallot, peeled and finely diced
12 ounces cooked, high-quality sausage, cut into cubes, see note
6 ounces Parmesan cheese, see note
Note: This recipe makes a restaurant-quality dish, complete with all the calories. To lower the calorie count a bit, use 10 ounces of sausage and 4 ounces of cheese.
1. Heat the grits or cornmeal and 4 cups of the stock in a medium or large pot over medium-high heat. Bring to a gentle simmer and cook, stirring frequently, until all the liquid has been absorbed and the cornmeal is soft, 20 to 35 minutes. Stir in 1 tablespoon of the butter and add salt, if necessary.
2. Meanwhile, remove stems from the mushrooms and discard. Lightly brush any dirt off mushrooms and cut caps into ¹⁄8-inch slices.
3. Heat a large, heavy pan, preferably cast iron, until it is very hot. Add oil. Add mushrooms and sauté for 30 seconds, sprinkling with salt and pepper to taste while cooking. Add garlic and shallots, but keep stirring so they do not color or burn. After 1 minute, remove from heat and add the remaining 2 tablespoons of stock to stop the cooking. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of cubed butter and stir constantly until it is melted and thoroughly coats the mushroom mix.
4. Mix the grits or cornmeal, sausage, shiitakes and 3 ounces of the cheese. Spoon onto plates and top with the remaining cheese.
Per serving (based on 8): 383 calories; 29g fat; 12g saturated fat; 59mg cholesterol; 16g protein; 14g carbohydrate; 1g sugar; 1g fiber; 1,189mg sodium; 280mg calcium
Adapted from “The Frog and the Redneck Cookbook” by Jimmy Sneed