Cheddar-Beer Grits with Cilantro Pesto

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It’s officially Spring, which means it’s farmer’s market season, right? It’s been a cold winter, and certainly hasn’t felt like Spring yet with highs in the 20s, but the extra bits of sunshine have helped some. My local market is actually year round, though much more abbreviated in the cold months. I made a dash there this past weekend, near the end of the open hours for an empanada fix, and perhaps some produce. Pros of showing up late: the vendors are eager to move their goods, which can lead to excellent deals, and there is much less of a crowd to fight through. Cons of  a late arrival: many vendors have packed up, and the ones remaining have pretty picked-over selection of goods. I didn’t find much, but I was happy to walk home with a giant bunch of cilantro for one dollar. Apologies in advance to those of you that are wired to get the soapy taste from cilantro, I am sorry for your loss. Perhaps you might substitute basil for cilantro and let me know how it is?

 

I wanted to find a way to highlight the cilantro in a warm, comfort-food sort of dish, and after a bit of thinking decided on grits. Cheesy grits. Cheesy beer grits, because cheddar and beer are so lovely together, right?

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For the pesto, wash the cilantro, and separate the leaves from the stems, making about 2 cups of the leaves. Peel the garlic cloves, and then everything goes directly into your food processor, simple as that. Pulse to make your pesto paste.

 

As a spin on the grits, they’re cooked in a beer-water mixture, for added flavor depth. Make sure to add the salt in before the grits, so the flavor will cook right in. If you’re using quick grits instead of old fashioned, adjust your cooking time according to the package directions. I used an 8 oz. block of extra sharp white cheddar cheese, and shredded it myself in the food processor as well, using about 6 oz. of the cheese in total, you may use the remaining for garnish!

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Makes 4 servings
Cooking time : 15 minutes

Pesto

  • 3/4 cup almonds

  • 2 cups cilantro leaves (loosely packed)

  • 2 cloves garlic

  • 1/2 cup olive oil

  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

  • 2 tsp lemon juice

Directions: Put all of the above ingredients into your food processor, pulse until well blended into a paste. Chill leftover for up to 1 week in an airtight container.

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Grits

  • 3 cups water

  • 1 cup beer (I used an amber lager, nothing too fancy, I’d recommend keeping it neutral)

  • ½  tsp salt

  • 1 cup old fashioned grits

  • 1  ⅓  cup extra sharp cheddar, shredded

 

  1. Add 3 cups cold water to a medium pot, and 1 cup of beer as well. Please enjoy the remaining beer from the can or bottle, you deserve it! Add ½ teaspoon salt to the pot as well, and bring to a boil.untitled-7828
  2. At boil,  whisk in 1 cup of old fashioned grits. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.untitled-7832
  3. Remove from heat, whisk in the shredded cheddar cheese,  until melted and well incorporated.BeerCheeseGritswPesto_Laura_NerdsAndNomsense-10
  4. Serve hot, and top with a generous spoonful of the Cilantro pesto, garnish with more shredded cheddar, and whole cilantro leaves.BeerCheeseGritswPesto_Laura_NerdsAndNomsense-12

 

What kinds of produce do you like to pick up from your local farmers market? Here’s a helpful list put out by the USDA with almost all of the nation-wide farmers markets (including directions, individual websites, and more). Be sure to keep a lookout for future posts featuring more awesome farmers’ market friendly recipes! If you have a favorite recipe, feel free to share it with us in the comments below, by email (info@nerdsandnomsense.com) or by any of our various social medias. We love hearing from you guys!

Cheddar-Beer Grits with Cilantro Pesto
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: Comfort Food
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • Pesto Ingredients:
  • ¾ cup almonds
  • 2 cups cilantro leaves (loosely packed)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 tsp lemon juice

  • Grits Ingredients:
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 cup beer (I used an amber lager, nothing too fancy, I'd recommend keeping it neutral)
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 cup old fashioned grits
  • 1 ⅓ cup extra sharp cheddar, shredded
Instructions
  1. Pesto Directions: Put all of the above ingredients into your food processor, pulse until well blended into a paste. Chill leftover for up to 1 week in an airtight container.

  2. Grits Directions:
  3. Add 3 cups cold water to a medium pot, and 1 cup of beer as well. Please enjoy the remaining beer from the can or bottle, you deserve it! Add ½ teaspoon salt to the pot as well, and bring to a boil.untitled-7828
  4. At boil, whisk in 1 cup of old fashioned grits. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.untitled-7832
  5. Remove from heat, whisk in the shredded cheddar cheese, until melted and well incorporated.BeerCheeseGritswPesto_Laura_NerdsAndNomsense-10
  6. Serve hot, and top with a generous spoonful of the Cilantro pesto, garnish with more shredded cheddar, and whole cilantro leaves.
 

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