Saturday, February 11, 2012

Artichoke Hearts + Succotash over Smoked Cheddar Grits

I set out to make a vegetarian version of creole shrimp and grits that's just as good or better than the original. The artichoke hearts are a perfect stand-in for the shrimp as they are 
region-appropriate. The truth is that I could talk about this dish all day long, and I still couldn't convey to you how delicious it is. Each component is wonderful on its own: the smokiness of the cheddar grits, the spicy heat of the vegetables, the crunch of the artichoke.  It all comes together when all these flavors are woven together with a simple mustard sauce. This is perfect dish to make for company...but you may want to keep it all to yourself.

Artichoke Hearts + Succotash over Smoked Cheddar Grits
(serves 4)

Smoked Cheddar Grits (recipe follows)
Succotash (recipe follows)
Pan-Fried Artichoke Hearts (recipe follows)
Spicy Mustartd Pan Sauce (recipe follows)
fresh dill and chopped parsley (for garnish)

Follow recipe to prepare the individual components. To serve, spoon a cup of grits onto a warmed plate. Top with a half-cup of succotash and 3 pieces of pan-fried artichoke. Drizzle a spoonful of Spicy Mustard Pan Sauce around the plate. Garnish with chopped parsley and fresh dill.

Smoked Cheddar Grits

2 cups vegetable stock
2 cups milk
1 cup yellow corn grits
4 cloves garlic (minced)
2 cups smoked cheddar (I used white goat cheddar, but any smoked cheddar will do)
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Bring the stock and milk to a boil together in a saucepan. Add the grits slowly as you stir so there are no lumps. Add the garlic, cover, and allow the mixture to cook on low for twenty minutes stirring occasionally to prevent sticking. Stir in the cheddar, salt, and pepper.


1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 ear of corn (kernels cut away)
1 green pepper (diced)
1/2 cup okra (1/4-inch sliced)
1/2 cup peas (field peas or lady peas)
1 cup shallot (small dice)
scant dash of cayenne
1 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder, nutmeg, salt, pepper

Heat butter and oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Toss remaining ingredients together. Once the butter and oil begin to smoke, add the vegetable mixture. Allow it to cook for a minute, then toss. Allow it to cook for an other minute then toss it again. Remove vegetables from the pan but leave any charred bits stuck to the bottom of the pan. You will use this in the following pan sauce recipe.

Spicy Mustard Pan Sauce

3/4 cup vegetable stock
1 tablespoon creole mustard

Add stock and mustard to the pan used to cook the succotash. Using a wooden spoon, scrape up any bits that stuck to the bottom of the pan. Over medium heat, reduce sauce by half. Set aside.

Pan-Fried Artichoke Hearts

1/3 cup canola oil
3 quartered artichoke hearts (make your own or use the large ones from the olive bar)
1 egg (beaten)
1/2 cup flour
salt and pepper to taste

If making your own artichoke hearts, blanch in acidulated, salted water for 10 minutes or until just tender. In a medium frying pan over medium-high heat, heat oil until it shimmers. Toss artichoke hearts in the egg and then in the flour. Shake off any excess flour. Pan fry the artichoke hearts for two to three minutes per side or until golden brown. Add salt and pepper to taste.


  1. I went to Whole Foods to grab my ingredients, and I ran into an issue with the peas.

    It's obvious by the amount of cooking time that this recipe calls for fresh peas. Unfortunately lady peas are very much out of season and the only fresh peas they had were snow peas and sugar snap peas. They also had lima and butter beans, so I grabbed the limas as a common succotash ingredient.

    According to the Google, I can sub verdina or cranberry beans for lady peas, but they only had dried, but I got them.

    I tried the Kroger nearest my house with no luck as well.

    I understand that prep will be a little different with dried beans (soaking overnight, etc.), but do you want me to proceed with the lima beans, verdina or cranberry beans? Do you have a better suggestion for a substitute? I don't think I'm going to find fresh lady or field peas right now.

  2. good point. Limas would be good. If you use a can, just rinse them. If you use dried, soak them in boiling water for an hour, drain and cook them until tender.

    This is a summer recipe for sure. I appreciate you taking it on. I'll be sure to add some subs for the final recipe.

    Thank you so much,

  3. So the artichokes were my husband's favorite part; I'm going to have to start doing them on a regular basis now.

    It took me 1 hour and 12 minutes from start (beginning to prep mise en place) to finish (completed plating) I think that is more than reasonable run time for dinner.

    As far as the smoked cheddar grits and the spicy mustard pan sauce, I have no notes- they were perfect.

    Succotash- I had to cook mine a little longer (about 4 minutes, probably because of the lima beans.) I feel like the limas overpowered the flavor of the succotash (I'm sure that's why you made the original recipe with a much milder, more delicate pea. I'm not certain if lima beans are the best substitute) Also, I think I would have preferred more corn (since it's the only source of natural sweetness) to balance the dish out a little bit more.

    Artichokes - I used both fresh artichokes that I prepped and ones from the olive bar just to test the difference. I think I prefer the marinated artichoke hearts from the olive bar for a few reasons: They're easier, faster, and cheaper. (I got a dozen artichoke hearts off the bar for about $6) while 3 whole artichokes were $12) But also, they're more flavorful as they are marinated in vinegar and herbs. They were softer than the artichoke hearts that I trimmed and prepped myself, and more fragile. Also, olive bar artichokes need to be patted dry, too much liquid makes the flour coating to heavy and it can fall off.

    General comments - As a person who has cooked pretty much my whole life, the recipe wasn't difficult for me to follow at all. I had my husband (a beginner cook, but pretty good at following a recipe) read through all the steps and asked him if he'd be able to make this dish. He ran into a couple of terminology issues - like acidulated water. Just by looking at the word, he knew that you should add some kind of acid to the water, but as someone who didn't have a whole lot of knowledge about food, he was uncertain about what would be the best kind and how much to use. I told him that it was just to keep the artichokes from turning brown, and the type of acid probably didn't matter. We ended up using fresh lemon juice, because that's my personal preference, but some people who may not cook a lot might need that kind of stuff further explained.

    I apologize for going on and on. The dish really was delicious; my husband (who's most definitely a meat lover) told me that he'd like to have it again, and that's a true sigh of a dish's success.

  4. Oh and by using artichokes from the olive bar, that would take about 25 minutes off the prep (it takes me a long time to trim artichokes) - bringing total prep to about 45 minutes, which makes this quick enough to put in standard weeknight meal rotation.

  5. OMG! You are such an awesome tester. Thank you so much.