Roasted Green Chile Cheese Grits with Fried Organic Egg and Pico de Gallo Salsa
Serves: 2 as a main
By Heidi Allison
Chile Cheese Grits are brunch comfort food but off the menu if you’re watching your weight. For the calorie-conscious, this recipe switches out the usual 1-1/2 cups of calorie-laden, heavy cream when cooking the grits with collagen-rich chicken bone broth to provide the thick, creamy texture people love and crave.
This dish doesn’t rely on lots of butter and cups of full-fat cheese for great taste and texture. These grits get their flavor by simmering roasted, green chiles in a small amount of cream cheese and unsalted butter and switching out the traditional full-fat Monterey jack or cheddar cheeses for lower-calorie Mexican queso fresco cheese.
Brighten the flavor profile of the dish with a dollop of freshly-made Pico de Gallo salsa. Making a great Pico de Gallo salsa is in the details of the preparation. This authentic Mexican recipe uses white onion (never yellow or brown onion), serrano chile and salt, which are first marinated in fresh lime juice for at least 10 minutes before the fresh tomato is added, which tempers the onion’s bite and flavors the veggies. (Do not add the fresh tomato at this time—you risk diluting the flavor in the finished dish.) It’s also crucial to finely chop, almost mince, the onion, chile and tomatoes to get the correct texture, while the cilantro is added right before serving to keep it “fresh”. To fully develop the salsa’s flavor, chill at least 30 minutes before serving. And use a slotted spoon for serving this salsa—this drains excess juice from the veggies which can make the finished dish too wet.
Roasted Green Chile Cheese Grits
3 Tbs. unsalted butter
4 oz. cream cheese
24 oz. chicken bone broth (I recommend Butcher’s chicken bone broth)
1/2 tsp. salt
1 poblano chile, peeled, seeded and cut into 1/4-inch strips
1 cup organic coarse-ground corn grits
1/4 cup crumbled Queso Fresco cheese
2 Tbs. unsalted butter
Place butter, chicken bone broth, cream cheese and roasted poblano chile strips in a medium (5-quart) enamel Dutch oven and heat on low heat, whisking constantly, until butter is melted and combined with bone broth. Add salt and whisk into mixture.
Gradually whisk in corn grits. Reduce heat to medium-low, and frequently whisk the corn grit mixture until it thickens —about 15 minutes. Whisk in Queso Fresco cheese until melted. Remove grits from heat and pour into a buttered 6-inch by 8 -inch glass shallow Pyrex dish. Allow to cool.
Ten minutes before serving, invert green chile polenta dish over a plate and cut chile cheese grits with a 6-inch biscuit cutter to create 6-inch disks—about 2.
Heat butter in a skillet and fry chile cheese grit rounds lightly crisp and browned on edges, then turn over and repeat on other side. Remove from skillet and set aside.
Pico de Gallo Salsa
1/2 cup finely chopped white onion, about 1/2 medium onion
1 small serrano chile, ribs and seeds removed and finely chopped
1/8 cup lime juice
1/2 tsp. sea salt
4 ripe Roma tomatoes, cored, seeds removed and finely chopped
1/4 cup minced cilantro, about 1/2 bunch
In a medium bowl, combine onion, lime juice, salt and serrano chile. Let marinate for at least 10 minutes.
Core, seed and finely chop tomato, and mince cilantro. Add tomato and cilantro to onion mixture and stir to combine. Taste and add more salt if needed.
Cover and allow to marinate in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. Keeps up to 4 days.
Fried organic eggs
2 organic eggs
2 tbs. unsalted butter
Heat butter in a nonstick skillet on medium-high heat till sizzling. Add eggs, keeping separate, and fry until edges are brown and crispy but yolk still runny.
Plating: Place fried egg on green chile grit round. Using a slotted spoon, top egg with 1 tablespoon of Pico de Gallo salsa.