What a great idea, to combine two Southern food staples. I halved the dish and used a handful of frozen cut okra instead of fresh, and it worked just fine. Both the top and bottom had a great crush, with creamy grits in the middle. I would use garlic salt next time instead of regular for more flavor.
Baked Polenta with Cheese and Okra
Photo: Charles Walton; Styling: Cindy Manning Barr
Yield: Makes 6 servings
- 4 cups water, divided
- 6 small fresh okra pods
- 1 cup uncooked quick-cooking grits
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 1/4 cup butter or margarine, cut into pieces
- 1 (8-ounce) block sharp Cheddar cheese, cubed*
- Bring 2 cups water to a boil in a large saucepan over medium heat; add okra, and cook 10 minutes. Remove okra with a slotted spoon, reserving liquid in pan; cool okra slightly, and coarsely chop.
- Add remaining 2 cups water to reserved liquid; bring to a boil. Gradually stir in grits and salt; return to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 5 to 7 minutes. Gradually whisk about one-fourth of hot grits into eggs; add to remaining hot mixture, whisking constantly. Whisk in butter. Stir in okra and cheese. Spoon into a lightly greased 11- x 7-inch baking dish.
- Bake at 350° for 55 to 60 minutes or until set.
- *2 (4-ounce) logs fresh goat cheese, crumbled, may be substituted for Cheddar cheese.
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