Grillades and Grits

This is the most distinctive of Creole breakfast dishes. It is misnamed. “Grillade” means a slice of grilled meat, but it’s almost never prepared that way for this dish. Restaurants typically sanitize grillades and grits a bit too much for ease of preparation and looks. What I’m giving you here is the old, bothersome, incomparably delicious version, simmered to tenderness for a long time. You don’t even need to use veal–calf or baby beef are fine.

Grits and grillades

Grits and grilladeS.

  • 2 lbs. veal or calf round
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt-free Creole seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, preferably with a blush of red, seeds and membranes removed, chopped coarsely
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped coarsely
  • 1 28-ounce can whole tomatoes
  • 1 Tbs. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 tsp. thyme
  • 2 cups veal stock
  • 3/4 cup (uncooked) stone-ground grits
  • 2 Tbs. butter
  • 1/2 tsp. salt

1. Cut the meat into one-by-two-inch rectangles, about half an inch thick. Combine the Creole seasoning, salt, and flour, and dust the veal cubes with it.

2. Heat 1 Tbs. of the vegetable oil in a large heavy pot over high heat, and sear the veal until browned. Remove the veal and reserve.

3. Add the remaining seasoned flour and oil to the pot and make a medium-dark roux, stirring constantly. When the roux is the right color, lower the heat to almost nothing and quickly add the onions, garlic, bell pepper, and celery. Cook, continuing to stir constantly, until the onions turn translucent.

4. Crush the tomatoes with your fingers. Add them along with 1/2 cup of juice from the can and the Worcestershire, to the pan. Bring to a light boil.

5. Return the veal to the pot and add thyme and stock. Simmer slowly, until sauce has thickened to one-half original volume. The sauce should be thick enough to coat a spoon. Taste the sauce and add salt and pepper as necessary.

6. Cook grits according to package directions, adding butter when grits are near desired thickness. Serve grillades and lots of sauce with the grits or on the side.

Serves four.

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