Heirloom Corn Grits with Kale Pesto

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If you haven't tried the Bloody Butcher Grits from Castle Valley Mill yet, here's a great place to start. Bloody Butcher is an heirloom variety of dent corn that began being grown in the United States in the 1800's. If you're a grit, polenta, cornmeal lover, add some of these beautiful rose and crimson colored grits to your pronto!

Recipe adapted from April Bloomfield’s A Girl and Her Greens

Serves 6-8 as a side

for the kale purée:

5 medium garlic cloves, peeled
1 lb. kale, thick stems removed (about 1/2 lb. after trimming)
Kosher salt
1 teaspoon sea salt
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon

for the grits

1 tablespoon. plus 1 tsp sea salt
2 cups Castle Valley Mill Bloody Butcher Grits
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 ounces Parmesan cheese, finely grated
3 tablespoon grass fed greek yogurt
Coarsely ground black pepper
¼ cup fresh herbs (such as basil, chives, or Italian parsley), coarsely chopped
Toasted Pine nuts

Start with the polenta. Combine 7 cups of water and the salt in a medium pot and bring the water to a boil over high heat. Add the grits and whisk until the grits starts to thicken and looks like it’s one with the water, about 2 minutes. Turn the heat to low (the gits should steam and tremble, but only rarely erupt with bubbles) and cook, stirring every now and again, until the grits are tender but still coarse in texture, 1 – 1.5 hours. You can slowly cook the polenta for up to 3 hours – the longer you cook it, the smoother the texture.

Make the kale purée. Put 4 of the garlic cloves in a medium pot, fill it with water, cover, and bring the water to a boil over high heat. Add enough kosher salt so that the water tastes slightly salty and add the kale, prodding to submerge it. Cook uncovered until the kale is tender and tears easily, 2 to 3 minutes.

Drain the kale and garlic cloves from the pot and reserve them. When the kale is cool enough to handle, squeeze out as much water as you can. Roughly chop the kale, the boiled garlic, and the raw garlic.

Combine the kale, garlic, and Maldon salt in a food processor and pulse for about 45 seconds. Then slowly add the oil and process, stirring once or twice, to a fairly smooth puree. A Vitamix will give you a very smooth puree, but somewhat chunky works well too.

Make the kale grits. When the grits are to your liking, stir in the olive oil, ½ cup of the kale purée, and most of the Parmesan and keep cooking, stirring occasionally, for a few minutes more. Take the pot off the heat and gently fold in 2 Tbs. of the yogurt . Top with the remaining yogurt and Parmesan, generous twists of black pepper, and your favorite herbs and toasted pine nuts. Oh and a little more Parmesan ; )