Recipe courtesy of Kathy Cary

Creamy Kentucky Grits Topped with a Ragout of Local Shiitakes and Thyme, Topped with Kenny's Gouda and Frizzled Leeks

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  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 1 hr 45 min
  • Prep: 25 min
  • Inactive: 15 min
  • Cook: 1 hr 5 min
  • Yield: 6 servings
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Creamy Grits: 

2 cups chicken stock

2 cups milk

1 cup stone-ground grits (recommended: Weisenberger)

1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon white pepper

Mushroom Ragout:

4 tablespoons butter, plus 2 tablespoons, plus 2 tablespoons

8 ounces shiitakes, sliced

2 tablespoons sliced shallots

1/2 cup leeks, white part only, diced (reserve tops for frying/frizzling)

4 cloves garlic, diced

2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

2 cups rich demi-glace (chicken or veal)

1/4 pound gouda (recommended: Kentucky Farmstead Cheese) - can substitute with smoked gouda

Watercress, for garnish

Frizzled Leeks, recipe follows

Frizzled Leeks:

 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

 1 teaspoon salt

 1/4 teaspoon pepper

 1 cup thin slivers of the green leek tops, washed 

Canola oil, to coat pan 1 inch


  1. Creamy Grits: Bring stock and milk to a boil. Turn down to low, and slowly whisk in the grits. Cook, stirring occasionally for 30 to 40 minutes. Remove from heat, add salt and pepper, and cover (for approximately 15 minutes) while making the ragout. 
  2. Mushroom Ragout: In a skillet, heat 4 tablespoons of the butter, add the sliced shiitakes and cook slowly, until softened and slightly browned. Add 2 more tablespoons of butter, and then add shallots, leeks, garlic, and thyme. Saute until soft; then add Dijon mustard and demi-glace. Stir in 2 more tablespoons of butter. 
  3. Ladle the grits out onto warmed plates, and spoon the ragout over the grits. Top with gouda, grated, and frizzled leeks. Garnish with fresh watercress and serve at once. 

Frizzled Leeks:

  1. Season the flour with salt and pepper. Toss the leek slivers in the seasoned flour, and deep fry in canola oil until golden brown. Drain on paper towels, and keep warm in low oven.