This is one breakfast that you can also have for dinner! I mean, who doesn’t love eggs, bacon, and cheese? Creamy cheddar grits are topped with spinach that’s been sautéed with pancetta, and then topped with a perfectly poached egg. How bad can that be?
Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day, so I am always trying to think of how to use breakfast foods in new and fun ways. Italians often eat polenta (and usually not for breakfast), but grits and polenta are basically the same thing! I usually add parmesan cheese to my polenta recipes, but since I love cheddar cheese with eggs, it just seemed to be the perfect addition to the grits for breakfast. Grits remind me of Southern food, which I LOVE, and Southerners tend to use cheddar when they make cheesy grits. I used white cheddar in this recipes, but you can also use yellow if you like.
For the greens, I used spinach, but kale would be a great option as well. Sautéing the greens with pancetta adds so much flavor! Pancetta is Italian bacon, so if you have bacon around it can be used instead.
How to make perfect Creamy Cheddar Cheese Grits with Sautéed Spinach, Pancetta, and Poached Eggs
*Pour the grits into the stock/milk mixture in a slow and steady stream, while whisking, to avoid clumps.
*Add the cheese to the grits at the end of the cooking process to avoid the cheese getting stringy.
*If using spinach, don’t overcook it. Make sure to sauté it just until the leaves softly wilt, because it will continue to cook once you turn the heat off. If you are using kale, you don’t have to worry as much, because kale is much more sturdy than spinach, and can hold up to more heat.
*This is best served right away.
- 4 oz pancetta; chopped into small cubes
- 1 shallot, minced
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes; optional
- 1 6oz bag fresh spinach, stems removed; this doesn't have to be a perfect measurement, roughly about 5 cups
- 1½ cup whole milk, or 2%
- 1½ cup vegetable stock
- 1 cup corn grits/polenta
- salt and pepper to taste
- butter; optional
- ½ cup good quality white cheddar cheese; shredded; plus more for topping
- eggs; amount varies depending on how much you would like per serving
- fresh chives and/or parsley for topping, chopped; optional
- In and large skillet over medium heat, cook the pancetta until browed, stirring frequently
- Add in the shallot with a tiny bit of salt, and cook until softened
- Add in the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook until fragrant, stirring frequently, being careful not to brown the garlic, about 30 seconds
- Add in the spinach and cook until just wilted, and remove from heat
- In a medium sauce pan, bring the milk and stock to just under a boil
- Pour in the grits into the milk/stock mixture in a slow and steady stream, while whisking to avoid clumps
- Cook for about 5 minutes, or as long as the package directions recommend
- Add in 1 tablespoon butter, and ½ cup cheese to the grits and gently fold them in
- Meanwhile, poach as many eggs as desired
- Place the cooked grits onto a plate, and cover with some of the spinach/pancetta mixture, then the poached egg, and top with salt, pepper, cheese, and herbs
- Serve immediately