Sausages and Gravy with Stone-Ground Grits

This recipe calls for poaching the sausages in a little water, boiling it down until it evaporates. The sausages then "scorch" in the pot in their own fat, creating browned bits that stick to the bottom, the base for a dark, rich gravy.

Sausages and Gravy with Stone-Ground Grits
This hearty dish of sausage and grits is stick to the ribs good.
Yield: serves 4

FOR THE GRITS:

  • 2 cups (about 3⁄4 lb.) old-fashioned white stone-ground grits
  • Salt
  • 14 cup butter
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Tabasco

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
  • 12 green bell pepper, cored, seeded, and finely chopped
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Instructions

  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.