July 13, 2009

Grillades and Grits

 Foods of Acadian Cookery

Many have questions the origin of Grillades but in Acadian country, few question eating it. Some say country butchers sliced thin pieces of fresh pork and pan-fried these with sliced onions. The cooking took place, most are inclined, in black iron pots over the boucherie's fire pit. The grillades then were ladled over grits or rice and eaten throughout the day while the boucherie continued.

Today, grillades and grits are a tradition on many breakfast and brunch menus all along the south and served in fine dining establishments and in everyday households.

Grillades and Grits

1 1/4 pounds lean beef, veal, or pork steaks, 1/2-inch thick
1/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 tablespoons bacon fat or lard, divided
1 1/2 cups sliced onion
1/2 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped red or green bell pepper
1 cup sliced mushrooms -optional
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons flour
1 1/2 cups sliced fresh, ripe tomato
1 1/4 cups stock or water
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes -more if desired
1/4 cup vinegar pepper sauce or Tabasco to taste
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 tablespoons chopped, fresh parsley
4-1/2 cups grits, cooked

Cut the steaks into 2-inch squares. Mix 1/4 cup flour, salt, and pepper and dredge the steaks. Heat the bacon fat in a skillet over medium high heat and sauté the meat on each side browning well. Remove with a slotted spoon and put aside.
Sauté the onion, celery, and pepper in the same pan until tender. Add garlic and stir well. Remove the vegetables and place with meat. Add the additional 2 tablespoons of bacon fat and stir in the 2 tablespoons of flour. Stir the roux constantly and cook until it turns a rich medium brown. Add the stock and stir until smooth.
Return the meat and cooked vegetables to the skillet and scatter on top the tomatoes and mushrooms. Season with thyme, basil, red pepper flakes, and the vinegar sauce. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook until tender, about 40 to 60 minutes depending on the type of meat used.
Taste for salt and pepper and stir in the 2 tablespoons of chopped parsley.
Serve over hot, well-buttered grits.

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