35 oz canned whole tomatoes in juice
1/2 cup old fashioned grits
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 small onion, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon thyme
Thoroughly drain the tomatoes, reserving juice. Cut the tomatoes into manageable bites and set aside. Pour the juice into measuring cup and add water until it equals 2 1/4 cups*. In a medium pot, bring the tomato juice to a boil. Add the grits and stir continually for about 10 minutes or until all the liquid is absorbed and the grits are soft. Remove from the heat. Keep covered until ready to serve.
Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a medium skillet then add the garlic, onion and celery. Saute until softened, then add the tomatoes and spices. Cook 2 additional minutes or until the whole mixture is hot. Stir the mixture into hot grits and serve.
*I had to add less than 1/4 cup of water.
Matt fried up some catfish for dinner and I made this as the side dish. I love to combine the starch with the vegetables, it is much simpler than making a bunch of side dishes, especially for just the two of us. Red rice has long been a favorite around here, and I got to thinking that grits would work just as well as rice. The texture is different, but the grits really absorbed the juice and had a great, fresh tomato flavor that was accented by the celery and thyme. Still waiting for tomatoes to really come in season, but this helps hold me over.