A week or so ago, while defrosting a steak for dinner, my wife came across this recipe for Cinnamon Roasted Chicken with Pumkin Sage Grits in Better Homes and Garden.  She showed it to me, and I thought, hmmm boy does that sound good, and, we just happened to have everything for it in the house. So the steak went into the fridge, and out came the grits…. 

Yup, we have grits in our house – all the time.  Now I am from New England, and most – if not all – people I know from up here think they hate grits. You mention grits, and the faces you see are pretty amusing!

In reality, they don’t hate them – they have just never had them cooked properly.  I thought I hated grits too, until my dear friends Larry and Doris took Lynne and I to T Rays, on Amelia Island.  This restaurant is actually a working gas station, with the kitchen and seating areas in what were formerly the garage bays….  and is easily one of the best restaurants for breakfast and lunch I have ever eaten in!  Absolutely amazing food, friendly people, and if you are anywhere near North Florida, a must stop in!

Anyway, back to the grits….  Grits at T Rays are almost a religious experience – they are NOTHING like you can find anywhere up here.  I started experimenting, and came up with what I think is a pretty good recipe for grits that even Northerners will like.  First thing, even though the chicken recipe calls for instant grits – (this is a post about a chicken recipe, remember? )- use regular grits, NOT instant.  This grits recipe serves 6:
Grits

Bring chicken stock, whipping cream, butter and garlic to boil in heavy large saucepan. Gradually whisk in corn grits. Return to boil, whisking constantly. Reduce heat to low. Simmer uncovered until grits thicken, whisking often, about 15 minutes. Whisk in cheese as grits thicken. 

The marscapone cheese is so thick and creamy – it just adds a perfect touch – but totally not required.

For the chicken recipe – add 2/3 cup of canned pumpkin,  to the grits when you return the mixture to a boil, as well as 1/2 tsp ground sage to taste – a  little goes a long way with sage.    The sharpness of the sage offsets the sweetnes of the cinnamon rub on the chicken very nicely!

The actual recipe is as follows:  I would use the above for the grits, and follow the chicken recipe below. Cook the grits while the chicken is roasting… It all takes about 20 minutes total – very easy, and VERY good!

ØThree skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut in half.
Ø1 TBSP olive oil
Ø1 ½ TSP fresh ground sea salt
Ø1 TSP ground cinnamon
ؽ TSP fresh ground black pepper
Ø1 ½ cups water
Ø2/3  cups instant grits
Ø2 tbs butter
ؽ cup canned pumpkin
Ø
ؽ TSP ground sage (to taste)
Ø1/3 cup shredded cheddar cheese
ØFresh sage leaves ( optional)
Directions:
1.Pre heat oven to 400 degrees.
2.Arrange chicken breasts on foil covered baking sheet, brush all sides with olive oil.  Mix 1 tsp  salt, pepper and cinnamon in small bowl.  Rub the spice mix on all sides of chicken breasts.
3.Roast 18 to 20 minutes, or until juices run clear.
4.As chicken cooks, bring water to boil in medium sauce pan.  Slowly whisk in grits, stirring constantly. Add butter, pumpkin, sage, remaining salt and return to boil.
5.Reduce heat to and cook uncovered 5 – 7 minutes, stirring occasionally until thickened.   Remove from heat.
6. Add brown sugar and cheese, stir until smooth.
7.Spoon grits onto plate, and top with chicken breast halves
8.Garnish with fresh sage leaves.
9.Serves


Enjoy – I will put up my recipe for shrimp grits soon as well – a great party dish!