If I have to look at another bowl of breakfast quinoa I may cry. As much as I love the tiny seed tossed into a salad, I’m getting a little tired of seeing it in porridge form. Until I started making quinoa grits, that is. Quinoa grits combine all the creamy, cheesy, hearty qualities of the classic corn-based dish with the “Wow I sure do have a lot of this stuff in my kitchen” quality of quinoa. As a staunch defender of both savory breakfast and mushy food, in quinoa gritsI find respite from the chewy and crunchy dried fruit and granola bars all too available in the mornings. Just sit me in front of a pot of quinoa grits, hand me a spoon, and walk away.
To start a pot of quinoa grits, melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat until it begins to foam. Add 1 minced shallot and ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes. Saute until the shallot is translucent. (Sometimes I just melt the butter, omitting the shallot, and move on with my life.)
While the shallot cooks, rinse 1 cup of white quinoa under cold water for about 2 minutes. Scrape the quinoa into the shallot mixture, then stir in 1 cup of whole milk, 1 cup of chicken or vegetable stock, and 1 cup of water. Add a big pinch of kosher salt and bring the mixture to a boil. When the quinoa comes to a boil, reduce the heat to low and cover the pan. Simmer the grits, for 15-20 minutes stirring occasionally, until the quinoa is soft and creamy. If the mixture looks like oatmeal, you’re good to go.
Throw another tablespoon of butter into the saucepan along with ½ cup shredded gruyere cheese, a small pinch of cayenne, and a few grinds of black pepper. Stir the grits until the butter and cheese are melted.
Serve quinoa grits as is with a crack of pepper and a little more cheese, or bring on the toppings: sauteed greens, mushrooms, a fried egg, maybe a couple links of browned chicken apple sausage if you so choose. You might find this weird (until you try it, that is), but I believe the best way to eat quinoa grits—even with the shallots and cheese—is simply with a quick pour of cold maple syrup.