Grits with Mushroom, Sausage & Pepper Ragout

In rural North Carolina, unlike Charleston or Savannah, grits are really for breakfast. But this recipe is a delicious, simple example of how grits are infinitely malleable. Repeat, not just for breakfast!

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

  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.