These grits are flecked with ham and bacon and blushed with tomatoes.
Yield: serves 4
- 8 slices bacon
- 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
- 1 green bell pepper, cored, seeded, and finely chopped
- 1 cup (about 6 oz.) finely chopped smoked ham
- 1 (14.5-oz.) can diced tomatoes, undrained
- 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
- 3⁄4 cup old-fashioned stone-ground white grits
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Fry the bacon in a large skillet over medium heat, turning once, until crisp, about 10 minutes. Transfer the bacon, leaving the drippings in the skillet, to a paper towel–lined plate to let drain and cool. Crumble the bacon into small pieces and set aside.
- Reserve about 3 tbsp. of the bacon drippings in the skillet and discard the rest. Reheat the skillet over medium heat, add the onions and the peppers, and cook until the onions are translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the ham and cook, stirring, until the peppers are soft, about 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes (with their juice) along with the garlic. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until most of the moisture has evaporated, about 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, bring 3 cups water to a boil in a medium pot. Add grits and salt to taste, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, thick, and creamy, about 30 minutes. Stir in the ham–tomato mixture. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve grits sprinkled with reserved bacon.