I must tell you – I am so excited about this post! It is the first in what I hope is a long lasting collaboration with a new friend that I greatly admire. Courtney and I met in Salt Lake City at Alt and honestly – from the first afternoon that she, Jeanne, and I spent together, it was as if we had known each other forever. The three of us laughed, endlessly. And then we found out how talented she is. Holy cow.
Courtney phoned me not long after we returned home from Salt Lake with an idea. We had talked extensively about collaborations at Alt- it was the one panel that I really wanted to attend. I truly feel that for me to move forward, I need to move outside of my comfort zone. I want to push myself in areas that I have previously shied away from, as well as work with people that I admire and am inspired by. That is why I am so excited about this series of posts. Each month miss Courtney and I will be choosing an item of food that we will each cook with – she in the east, me in the west. She will then paint her item, while I will make photos with mine. We will then share our recipes with you! What could be better than that?
So, this month, Courtney and I chose beets~
And I give you the incredibly talented Courtney Khail~
ROOT VEGETABLE AND SAUSAGE RAGOUT WITH CREAMY, CHEESY, GRITS (Courtney’s)
It started as this recipe from Whole Living, but I rarely follow a recipe verbatim. In reality, I kind of read something I like and then use it as a jumping off point based on what I have in the frig/pantry. This is a good example of that practice. Also, most of my stuff serves 2, because that’s how I cook. There was extra here, but I’d double it if you were planning for 4.
1 large onion
1 potato (I used purple ones because they are pretty and I had them)
4 Brussels sprouts (halved)
2 beets (fresh ones. Nothing from a can here!)
½ teaspoon of granulated garlic (or finely mince 2-3 cloves of the good fresh stuff)
1 Tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
14 oz can of diced tomatoes (or you can use a pint of cherry tomatoes if you happen to have them)
1 1/4 cup of low sodium stock (vegetable or chicken)
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon each of thyme, rosemary, and parsley
½ teaspoon of balsamic vinegar
¼ lb ground sausage
creamy, cheesy, grits
salt and pepper
1) Preheat your oven to 475 degrees Fahrenheit
2) Wash all the vegetables and then peel the carrots and parsnips (you don’t have to if you washed them well enough)
3) Dice all of the vegetables into large chunks and place in a bowl. Toss with olive oil and garlic and pour vegetables onto a cookie sheet.
4) Roast for 20-30 minutes, turning the sheet or stirring the vegetables halfway through the cooking time.
5) While the vegetables are roasting, cook the sausage until brown. (I’d suggest using a Dutch oven or a deep pan because later everything has to fit in this.)
6) Add the tomatoes and stock to the sausage and cook for 5 minutes on medium. If you’re using fresh tomatoes, mash them up a little to make more of a sauce.
7) Add the bay leaf, thyme, parsley, rosemary, and vinegar and cook for another 5 minutes.
8) Add a pinch of salt and a pinch of pepper. (You can always add more.)
9) Around this time you should start making your grits*
10) When the vegetables are finished, take them out of the oven (remember to turn off the oven) and pour them into the tomato and sausage mix and cook for another 3ish minutes. (Feel free to cook on low until your grits are done. It won’t hurt it.)
11) Take out the bay leaf.
12) Pour the vegetable and sausage ragout over the grits and serve immediately. Don’t be afraid if there is a strong red color when you mix things. That’s just beet juice. If that bothers you, roast the beets separately and add them on top of the ragout and grits instead of mixing it all together. I made this on Valentine’s Day though, so it was kind of appropriate.
Side note about the grits:
I eat grits because I am from the South. If you aren’t, or if for some odd reason you don’t like grits, this would work with polenta too. To make them super creamy and cheesy and awesome, use half and half instead of water to make them. Add more than the package tells you to- you’ll kind of want to cook it like risotto in the fact that when it start drying out, you’ll add more half and half. In the end you’ll probably almost double the amount of liquid called for in the grit directions. As for the cheese, just mix is a large handful once they are finished cooking and then season with salt and pepper. (Grits ALWAYS need salt. Do not be afraid of adding salt.)