Southern and Southwestern ingredients unite in this sustaining meal of beans, peppers, and tomatoes over the best grits you will ever eat. If you don't have the quick-cooking variety, use regular and follow the instructions on the package.
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2 1/2 cups water
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons butter
1/8 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
1/8 teaspoon paprika
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
3/4 cup quick-cooking grits
1/4 pound cheddar, grated (about 1 cup)
1 red bell pepper, cut into 3/4-inch squares
1 green bell pepper, cut into 3/4-inch squares
6 scallions including green tops, sliced thin
2 cups drained and rinsed canned black beans (one 19-ounce can)
1/4 cup canned low-sodium chicken broth or homemade stock
3 plum tomatoes, chopped
How to Make It
In a medium saucepan, combine the water, milk, 1 tablespoon of the butter, the Tabasco, paprika, 1 teaspoon of the salt, and 1/8 teaspoon cayenne. Bring to a boil over moderately high heat. Add the grits in a slow stream, whisking. Reduce the heat, cover, and simmer, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon, until the grits are very thick, 5 to 10 minutes. Remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in the cheese. Cover to keep warm.
Meanwhile, in a large nonstick frying pan, melt the remaining tablespoon of butter over moderate heat. Add the bell peppers and scallions and cook, stirring frequently, until the vegetables start to soften, about 5 minutes. Add the beans, broth, 1/4 teaspoon cayenne, and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring frequently, until the beans are hot, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the tomatoes. Serve over the cheese grits.
The robust and varied flavors in this dish want a big, spicy, and fruity red wine to match their intensity. Zinfandel seems to have an affinity for black beans, and a sturdy example from the Napa Valley will suit these grits and beans well.
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