Goat Cheese Grits Bowl

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When I think of southern food staples, grits is definitely in the top five. I didn't grow up with a lot of the great dishes of the south. In fact, I’m ashamed to say I only ate instant grits until I was an adult. Being that my mom grew up in Ohio and did not have access to the hearty stone ground grits, that’s all we knew in our house. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t love instant grits and I don’t like artificial cheese, but that combo remains one of my favorites as it reminds me of my childhood. Luckily, delicious grits are everywhere now — especially in Georgia, so great grits (try saying that five times fast) are only a hop, skip and a jump away (yep, keeping with the southern theme here)!

You can do SO many flavor combinations when making a grits bowl. One of my favorites happens to be from a local cafe, New Moon Cafe. Their bowl features stone ground grits, bacon, avocado, pimento cheese, fresh salsa and Cholula hot sauce. I mean, YUM! For this bowl, I opted to use some of my farmers market finds for a combination of goat cheese grits, sautéed kale, roasted grape tomatoes, crispy bacon and a farm-fresh fried egg. THIS is what Saturday brunch dreams are made of! #BRUNCHGOALS

If you can’t find stone ground grits, instant will do for this recipe. If you can get the stone ground, I highly recommend to go that route. After making this dish with my farmers market finds, I can honestly say I have a new found love for grass-fed, farm fresh eggs. There is no comparison to the flavor and color of the yolk. With the grits bowl, that yolk is the cherry on top that finishes this fresh, rich and flavorful grits bowl.

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(serves 2-3)

Ingredients

1 cup stone ground grits
1 small log goat cheese, plain
4 large handfuls baby kale
1/2 cup grape tomatoes
4 strips thick-cut bacon
2 eggs
4 tablespoons olive oil
salt/pepper


Begin by preparing the grits according to the package instructions. The grits are a labor of love and cook for 40-50 minutes. Complete the standard recipe my mixing in the log of goat cheese and seasoning with additional salt/pepper.

Once the grits are close to being finished, preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place the bacon on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Next, prepare the tomatoes by coating with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and seasoning with salt/pepper. Place on a lined baking sheet (separate from the bacon baking sheet). Place both pans in the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until bacon is crispy and tomatoes are cooked through and nicely roasted. Once the bacon cools, roughly chop.

While the tomatoes and bacon cook, place 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Place the kale in the skillet. Season with salt/pepper and cook for 5 minutes, or until cooked down and wilted. Remove from heat.

Next, place the remaining oil in a medium skillet over medium-low heat. Crack the eggs and cook until desired completeness. Season with salt/pepper. For over easy eggs (as pictured) cook for 3-4 minutes.

Now that everything is cooked, it is time to assemble! Place 1-2 cups cooked grits in your desired serving bowl (This might leave you with leftover grits to enjoy for another meal). Top with half the kale, grape tomatoes, two strips of chopped bacon and a fried egg. Repeat this step for an additional bowl. Season everything with salt/pepper, if desired. Enjoy!

Elizabeth Canas