To continue the theme of pantry cooking, here is the ultimate pantry meal, Cheese Grits with Hot Dogs and Coca-Cola Red Eye Gravy. Actually it sounds like the ultimate white trash meal. I didn't feel like going to the grocery store so I just threw this dinner together. In the South, grits are often served with ham and red-eye gravy for breakfast. Red-eye gravy is traditionally made with black coffee but can be made with Coca-Cola. It sounds totally weird but Coca-Cola is acidic like beer and wine and is great for deglazing and making sauces. I use it in my Pulled Pork recipe. Hamsteaks are usually used for the red-eye gravy but I didn't have any so I just used some sliced up hot dogs. The grits recipe serves 4-6 people (so if serving more than 2 people, double the ingredients for the gravy). I like to make extra grits and put them in a loaf pan, then slice it up and fry it in butter for breakfast the next day. Or maybe pour some chili over it. I use Bob's Red Mill Coarse Ground Cornmeal which can be found in most grocery stores. The Albertson's near my house has it in the "Organic" aisle alongside the gluten-free products. If you can't find the Coarse Ground, the Medium Grind Cornmeal will work, which can be found in the baking aisles of most grocery stores.
TBC Cheesy Grits with Hot Dogs and Coca-Cola Red-Eye Gravy
2 cups whole milk
2 cups water
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 cup coarse ground cornmeal
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 ounces sharp Cheddar, shredded
3 hot dogs, sliced
1 TBSP butter
1/2 onion, small diced
1 cup Coca-Cola
Place the milk, water, and salt into a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Once the milk mixture comes to a boil, gradually add the cornmeal while continually whisking. Once all of the cornmeal has been incorporated, decrease the heat to low and cover. Remove lid and whisk frequently, every 3 to 4 minutes, to prevent grits from sticking or forming lumps; make sure to get into corners of pot when whisking. Cook for 20 to 25 minutes or until mixture is creamy.Remove from the heat, add the pepper and butter, and whisk to combine. Once the butter is melted, gradually whisk in the cheese a little at a time.
While the grits are cooking, start the Red-Eye gravy. In a saute pan, add the butter over medium-heat. When it stops foaming, add the onions and cook until lightly browned. Add the cut up hot dogs and cook until lightly browned. Add the Coca-Cola and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat and cook until desired consistency.
Divide grits and hot dogs among two bowls and then ladle gravy on top.