Saturday, November 20, 2010

Ham Steak, Mushroom Eggs and Jalapeno Chihuahua Cheese Grits with Redeye Gravy

Traditional southern breakfasts do fill a stomach up with hearty food to start a hard days work! 
     Redeye gravy is really just a quick ham au jus that is made by deglazing the pan with water, coffee or chicory.  Spicy jalapenos and Chihuahua Cheese add a nice flavor to grits.  Mushroom scrambled eggs are delicious in the morning. 
     It was not that long ago, when the daughters of a southern family would gather wild edible mushrooms at daybreak.  Grocery stores or mercantiles were a place to only buy essentials and the food on the table was fresh from the land. 
     If you use a southern dry cured ham for this recipe, then it is necessary to soak the ham slices in water to leach out the excess salt.  I am in Chicago for now and southern ham is not readily available here.  So I cooked a piece of regular light brine cured bone in ham instead.  Having the bone on a ham slice does make it easier to make a good redeye gravy.
     Jalapeno Chihuahua Cheese Grits Recipe:  Heat 2 cups of water in a sauce pot over high heat.
     Add about 3/4 cup of old fashioned hominy grits.  (Don't use instant grits!) 
     Add sea salt and black pepper.
     Add a chopped green jalapeno pepper. 
     Stir the grits with a whisk as they thicken.
     When the grits become medium thick, reduce the temperature to low heat.
     Simmer the grits and stirr occasionally.
     When the grits are cooked soft, add a small handful of chopped Chihuahua Cheese while stirring. 
     Stir till the cheese is combined with the grits. 
     Keep the grits warm over very low heat till serving time.
     Ham Steak and Redeye Gravy Recipe:  Heat a saute pan or cast iron skillet over medium heat.
     Add 1 pat of unsalted butter.
     Add a thick large slice of bone in ham.
     Grill the ham on both sides till brown highlights appear on the ham. 
     Add about 3/4 cup of water, coffee or chicory.  (I used coffee to make this redeye gravy.) 
     Remove the ham after the liquid begins to boil. 
     Set the ham on a plate and keep it warm. 
     Deglaze the pan and reduce the pan juices slightly. 
     Set the redeye gravy aside and keep it warm.
     Mushroom Eggs Recipe:  Heat a non stick saute pan over medium heat.
     Add 3 pats of unsalted butter.
     Add a handful of sliced mushrooms.  (I used small portabella field mushrooms for this recipe.) 
     Gently saute the mushrooms. 
     Place 2 eggs in a mixing bowl.
     Add a small splash of cream. 
     Whisk the egg mixture till it becomes blended.
     When the mushroms become cooked tender, add the egg mixture.
     Scramble and cook the eggs with the mushrooms, till the eggs are full cooked.
     Assembly:  Set the mushroom eggs on a plate.
     Set the ham steak on the plate.
     Spoon the jalapeno cheese grits onto the plate.
     Pour a little bit of the thin redeye gravy over the grits and the ham.
     Hard, hearty, flavorful southern breakfast!  All the flavors on this plate go well together.  Old fashioned hominy grits have a much better texture than instant grits.  I do prefer chicory over coffee for making redeye gravy.  When southern dry cured ham is used to make redeye gravy, all you need to make the gravy is water.  Southern ham is a very strong flavored ham.  Jalapeno and Queso Chihuahua is a classic flavor combination that is perfect for the grits.  Mushroom eggs are delicious and are deep  with a nice mushroom flavor.  This is a heavy breakfast, to say the least.  Southern breakfasts tend to fuel a person up for a hard days work.  Even if the day's hard work only consists of dangling a bamboo fishing pole over a catfish pond!  ... Shawna

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