This is an homage to my very French mother raising her family in Texas. She was never a fan of grits and of southern style pan gravy so I did a twist on this recipe that would have made her a convert to this classic southern combination of grits and gravy.
First I searched out the best pork sausage I could find. Wild Boar sausage appealed to my love of using indigenous New World ingredients and hearing that D’Artagnan uses Texas wild boars it seem like a local (if in Texas) wild boar sausage to try.
I found this sausage to have a softer and less black musky flavor than others I have found using more expensive boar sausages at butcher counters such as Dean & Deluca. Interesting as these other Boar sausages were they seem too rugged for this rendition of a classic breakfast dish but could be substituted if you desire a more gamy flavor.I also liked that Wild Boar D’Artagnan sausage is made with meat from feral swine raised without hormones and antibiotics. And in the manufacturing process D’Artangnan used sage (another New World ingredient) shallots, sherry, dry mustard and garlic to add a continental gentleness to the flavor. These seasonings became the inspiration for this sausage gravy recipe. Hence I highly recommend ordering online or seeking out this D’Artagnan’s sausages. If you do not eat pork there are some gently flavored sausages with apple and chicken that would work well with this simple recipe and be less greasy than main stream sausage brands.
As for Grits… I love my grits… I am grit picky southern girl.
If you are in the mood for classic and gourmet stone ground grits first stop would be McEwen & Sons of Wilsonville, AL. Every flavor I have tried is fabulous. I love the Organic Blue Grits for it’s stone ground texture, unusual color, and taste. The blue corn grits also adds a little exotica using this rare variation of this new world food and looks interesting on the plate and generates conversation. Any slow cooking grits could be used and both the gravy and grits can be made simultaneously.
I highly recommend watching the Stan Woodward’s documentary “It’s Grits” particularly the new anniversary addition. Fascinating and very sensitive (brought tears to my eyes)…
the little clips on the web do not do it justice, get the DVD at http://www.stanwoodward.com/itsgrits.htm An American Classic!
Clay pots!!! I really like cooking both these dishes in Clay for the following reasons. I think it makes the grits creamer as it plumps and softens the grits. Plus the clay holds the warmth making a great stove to table way of serving the grits. As for the gravy. The gentle even heat of the stove top safe clay pot offers a method to make a velvety sauce that if monitored will not boil much and minimize lumps. The gentle warmth is great for serving at the table as well. I used my La Chamba chicken pot skillet because it is great size for the sauce and has a fun chicken theme for breakfast if you chose to serve eggs on the side of these dishes for a brunch and a nice round small lidded Olla pot for the grits.
Recommended timing. First step… put the water for the grits to boil and sauté the sausage. Once boiling put the grits in the boiling water and crumble the cooked sausage (can be done ahead as long as you save the sausage drippings). Then make the gravy.
Quick option tip – You can alway remove the casings and crumble the uncooked sausage first and start cooking the crumpled sausage and jump into making the gravy with the pieces of sausage in the pan, quicker and a makes a bit more rustic style, equally tasty, but not as velvety a sauce.
Serves 3 to 4
Wild Boar Sausage Gravy Recipe
4 links of D’Artangnan Wild Boar Sausage
1 Tablespoon of Olive oil
3 Tablespoons of Flour
1 1/4 Cups of organic whole milk
1/4 Cup of dry sherry
2 Tables of fresh roughly chopped sage (save additional full leaves of sage for garnish)
1/2 t of salt
1/2 t of fresh ground white or black pepper
Sauté and cook throughly 4 links of sausage in 1 T of olive oil.
This D’Artangnan sausage is very lean if you are using another sausage you might be able to omit the olive oil. Remove the sausage and the pan from the heat, save the sausage drippings. we will be using this same pan and the dripping for making the gravy. After the sausage has cooled a little remove what of the outer casing you can easily remove and crumble or chop up the sausage meat and put aside for adding to the gravy later.
Take the milk and flour and put in a plastic bag and shake well (a Texas cooks trick)… or you can put the flour and milk in a bowl and mix well, set aside.
Here comes the cooking, stirring part, which is easy just don’t try to use to high a heat, stir constantly and have all your ingredients handy.
Return the pan with the dripping back to the stove on medium heat for about 20 seconds and add the dry sherry to deglaze the pan, stir constantly. Once deglazed (sherry and pan drippings blended) add the milk flour mixture and keep stirring over medium low heat, approx another thirty seconds, until it starts to thicken, reduce heat to low.
The thickening happens quickly so be prepared to keep stiring while quickly adding the crumbled sausage and sage. before it gets too close to your desired thickness.
The clay pot will hold the heat and continue to thicken the velvety sauce so you don’t have to make it super thick. You can thin the gravy by adding a little extra milk at this point over the heat if necessary. Seasoning with salt and pepper to taste.
Serve immediately with the grits. Garnish with the full sage leaves.
Cooking the grits
1 Cup of uncooked stone ground blue corn grits
4 Cup of water
2 Tablespoon of butter
3/4 teaspoon of salt
1/4 teaspoon of freshly ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder
Bring the water, salt, garlic powder and butter to a boil add the grits. Stir well and return to a boil over medium heat. Once boiling again, cover and reduce the heat to low for 25 mins. Check the grits periodically and stir to minimize sticking and loosen grits from bottom of the pot. Add pepper when done and serve.
Thanks to Matt Timm’s Grit Cookoff at the NYC Food Film Festival, 2010 for allowing this grit recipe, one of a series of three – All American Grit Trilogy – Red White (more recipes to follow) and Blue Grits with Wild Boar Sausage to be a part of the competition. A shoot out by Sam Woodward at the awards, as to the originality of my grit combo, made my year!