Grits with Mushroom, Sausage and Pepper Ragout

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"At the restaurant, we categorize the Pimp My Grits section of the menu as something to share and possibly dip into. We build each Pimped Grit in a 6 inch cast iron skillet, and that skillet is finished in a very hot oven. Each composition treats the grits as a blank canvas and strives to be balanced and unique. This is a customer favorite." -- Vivian Howard

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Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 2 lb country style sausage
  • 1 cup mixed color bell peppers (small diced)
  • 1 jalapeno minced
  • 1/2 cup green onion (sliced)
  • 3 cups button mushrooms (quartered)
  • 5 garlic cloves (sliced)
  • 2 cups tomatoes (diced)
  • 2 cups water
  • Basic grits

Directions

  1. In the largest saute pan you have, start by browning your sausage in vegetable oil over pretty high heat. Once it is nicely browned, remove it from the pan and reserve.
  2. Leave the tasty fat in the saute pan and with the heat around medium high, add the mushrooms in a single layer. Let them sit there. Do not stir them around. Do not shake the pan like you are dying to do. Let them sit for about 2 minutes.
  3. Shake the pan and see the nice caramelization you have accomplished. Do this again with the newly exposed side.
  4. Once you have achieved nice caramelization, season the mushrooms with salt, shaking the pan once more. Remove the mushrooms and reserve.
  5. Add the bell peppers, jalapeno, green onion and garlic cloves. Hit them with a little salt and allow them to sweat for about 5 minutes.
  6. Add the tomatoes, sausage, mushrooms and water to the pan and bring up to a simmer. Let this go for about thirty minutes. It should all cook down to a nice comforting looking ragout.
  7. Taste and season with salt and black pepper.
  8. To serve with the grits: Spoon a generous helping of the ragout on top of warm, seasoned grits. Top the whole thing with grated parmesan cheese and pop in the oven for about 4-5 minutes or until the top is slightly browned and the whole thing is bubbling.
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