Sausages and Gravy with Stone-Ground Grits
2 cups (about 3⁄4 lb.) old-fashioned white stone-ground
1⁄4 cup butter
Freshly ground black pepper
FOR THE SAUSAGES AND GRAVY:
8 fresh pork sausages (about 2 lbs.), pricked all over
with a fork
2 ribs celery, finely chopped
1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
1⁄2 green bell pepper, cored, seeded, and finely chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1. For the grits: Bring 10 cups water to a boil in a large pot. Stir in the grits and 1 tbsp. salt and return to a boil while stirring constantly. Reduce heat to medium-low to maintain a gentle simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until grits are softened and very thick, about 1 hour. Stir in butter and season with salt, pepper, and Tabasco to taste. Cover grits and keep warm.
2. Meanwhile, make the sausages and gravy. Arrange the sausages in a single layer in the bottom of a large wide pot and cover with 1⁄2 cup water. Bring to a boil over medium heat and cook until water has evaporated and sausages have begun to brown in their own fat, about 15 minutes. Continue browning the sausages, turning occasionally, until deep golden brown on all sides, about 25 minutes more.
3. Transfer the sausages to a plate with tongs. Add celery, onions, peppers, and salt and pepper to the pot and cook, stirring and scraping up the browned bits, until deep golden brown, about 15 minutes. Return sausages to pot along with 2 cups water, reduce heat to medium, and simmer until vegetables are soft and liquid has reduced to a slightly thickened gravy, 16–18 minutes. Divide the sausages (with their gravy) and grits between 4 plates. Serve with Tabasco on the side.