Dill & Bacon Grits (Nachynka)

Time: 20 minutes

Music Selection: The Tragically Hip – New Orleans Is Sinking

Growing up, with a Ukrainian heritage, we had “nachynka” at many Sunday, after Church, dinners, at Church potlucks and at every big holiday (Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving). Like many ethnic foods, every family and region, has their own slight twist – some like their nachynka creamy and others bake it and cut into cubes (more like polenta). My hubby, though, LOVES grits a crazy amount. When we were visiting New Orleans, he tried to eat grits as often as he could (gumbo, too). We used to even get white cornmeal shipped to our place, as it used to be harder to find here, as we typically have yellow cornmeal. New Orleans has a deep connection to Canada, and we loved the history, the culture and the french influence from the Acadians who left Canada and moved to Louisiana. Anyways, all this to say, this dish combines our love of Louisiana grits, our Ukrainian heritage and our Canadian melting pot views on life and food. I hope you enjoy this dish while listening to one of Canada’s iconic bands – “The Hip”.

Ingredients:

2 cups chicken broth

2 cups milk, cream or combination (we like 1 cup milk and 1 cup cream)

1 cup cornmeal, ground fine

1 – 2 Tbsp fresh or dried dill, chopped finely

4 strips bacon

½ medium onion, diced finely

2 Tbsp butter (optional)

Salt/pepper to taste

Toppings Options: additional crispy bacon pieces and fresh dill

Breakfast option: a medium soft poached egg per person

Directions:

Cut bacon strips into bacon bit sizes. In large pot, sauté onions and bacon. When the onion is soft and bacon is fairly crispy, add in the chicken broth and milk/cream.

We like to use a combination of 1 cup milk and 1 cup cream. Mix well and try to scrape up all the bacon that might be sticking to the bottom and sides of the pan. Once the broth/milk is starting to boil, add in the dill and slowly add in the cornmeal, all the while whisking. Keep whisking until the cornmeal starts to thicken. When it is this about the thickness you like, remove from heat and add the butter plus salt/pepper to taste. We like ours pretty cream, so you can add extra milk or cream if it starts to get too thick!

This is a great side dish for pork chops, pork or beef ribs or fried chicken. Ideally, the cornmeal should be served hot and creamy. It can be topped with bacon and fresh dill.

For breakfast, this is great as a bowl of grits with extra crispy bacon, dill and a medium-poached egg on top. I will warn you, this meal will catch you by surprise at how filling it is SO – eat slowly and enjoy the flavors of this delicious dish!

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