Creamy Grits with Tomato Gravy and Greens

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  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 2 hr
  • Active: 1 hr
  • Yield: 4 servings
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4 1/2 cups whole milk

1 1/2 teaspoons salt 

1 cup grits 

Tomato Gravy:

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

2 cups grape tomatoes, halved 

1 teaspoon sugar 

2 cloves garlic, crushed 

4 tablespoons butter 

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour 

1 cup vegetable broth 

1 tablespoon tomato paste 

1 teaspoon salt 

1/4 teaspoon black pepper 

Collards, for serving, recipe follows


2 large bunches collards, homegrown or from the produce section, rinsed well

1/2 pound cured ham hock or salt pork  

1/2 cup salt, for brine (optional, see Cook's Note below)  

Buttermilk cornbread, for serving 

Hot sauce, for serving 


  1. For the grits: Bring the milk and salt to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the grits, stirring with a fork to prevent any lumps from forming. Once the grits have started to thicken, reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring constantly, until thick and smooth, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and cover to keep warm.
  2. For the tomato gravy: Meanwhile, in a large skillet over medium heat, heat the oil until it shimmers. Add the grape tomatoes, sugar and garlic and cook until the tomatoes start to soften, 3 to 5 minutes. Add 2 tablespoons of the butter; let melt. Stir in flour and cook until starting to brown, 1 to 2 minutes. Whisk in the broth, tomato paste, salt and pepper until smooth. Continue cooking until the mixture comes to a boil; it will thicken as it heats. When thick like a gravy, remove from the heat and stir in the remaining 2 tablespoons butter.
  3. Serve the warm grits in shallow bowls, topped with tomato gravy and collard greens.


  1. Prepare the collards for cooking by cutting the large stems from the center of the leaves. Stack the leaves and cut them crosswise into 1-inch strips
  2. Put 2 inches of water in a saucepan large enough to hold the raw collards (the leaves can be pushed down tightly and will wilt to about one-quarter volume as they cook). Add the ham hock or pork and bring the water to a boil. Add the collards and toss with tongs until the water returns to a boil and the leaves wilt down into the pan. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer over low heat for 1 hour, or until tender. Stir occasionally, checking to be sure there is enough liquid to prevent scorching. Taste the liquid and add salt if needed. Serve with buttermilk cornbread and hot sauce.

Cook’s Note

You can cook and freeze these in the summer to eat throughout the year. If the collards are homegrown, soak the leaves briefly in a salt-water brine made by adding 1/2 cup salt to enough water to cover the leaves.

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