Cheddar-Cheese Grits with Spicy Black Beans

Southern and Southwestern ingredients unite in this sustaining meal of beans, peppers, and tomatoes over the best grits you will ever eat. If you don't have the quick-cooking variety, use regular and follow the instructions on the package.

Yield: 4
Recipe from Food & Wine

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Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/8 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
  • 1/8 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • Cayenne
  • 3/4 cup quick-cooking grits
  • 1/4 pound cheddar, grated (about 1 cup)
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into 3/4-inch squares
  • 1 green bell pepper, cut into 3/4-inch squares
  • 6 scallions including green tops, sliced thin
  • 2 cups drained and rinsed canned black beans (one 19-ounce can)
  • 1/4 cup canned low-sodium chicken broth or homemade stock
  • 3 plum tomatoes, chopped

Preparation

  1. 1. In a medium saucepan, combine the water, milk, 1 tablespoon of the butter, the Tabasco, paprika, 1 teaspoon of the salt, and 1/8 teaspoon cayenne. Bring to a boil over moderately high heat. Add the grits in a slow stream, whisking. Reduce the heat, cover, and simmer, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon, until the grits are very thick, 5 to 10 minutes. Remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in the cheese. Cover to keep warm.
  2. 2. Meanwhile, in a large nonstick frying pan, melt the remaining tablespoon of butter over moderate heat. Add the bell peppers and scallions and cook, stirring frequently, until the vegetables start to soften, about 5 minutes. Add the beans, broth, 1/4 teaspoon cayenne, and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring frequently, until the beans are hot, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the tomatoes. Serve over the cheese grits.
  3. Wine Recommendation: The robust and varied flavors in this dish want a big, spicy, and fruity red wine to match their intensity. Zinfandel seems to have an affinity for black beans, and a sturdy example from the Napa Valley will suit these grits and beans well.
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