Bento Lunch: Savory Grits, sausage bites and cottage cheese

Pass the Puffs, Please.
And the cough drops.
And the Chloraseptic.
And maybe the Cepocal because the Chloraseptic isn’t cutting it.

OH MY – my throat has been ANGRY since last week. No worries – I’m getting back on my feet (although I haven’t stopped working… just had to forgo my blogging for a bit).

Thus the perfect foray into a gluten free lunch or meal when you don’t have the energy to make much. Take last night, for example. Neither my love nor I were up for much – but we were both hungry. Hunger is a serious hurdle when the most exciting thing you have managed to swallow in three days is a small spoon of cottage cheese. My love had the perfect answer: congee.

He made the most wonderful congee I’ve had in ages. I’m sure it was partially due to the use of the duck bones we had in the freezer for just this type of occasion (saved from the night we made roast duck). Chicken stock would do well as well. In fact, it’s rare that we have such a luxury on hand.

Do you know what congee is? Congee is a rice soup. It’s really made by simmering rice in water or stock (much more stock/water than you would to cook rice in) and adding super mild seasoning. In the restaurants, congee is done when the rice is mushy but has not lost its shape. Then the congee is put into bowls and topped with the customers’ requests. Things like 1,000 year old preserved duck eggs pieces (not my favorite, but my love thinks its grand) or green onions or chicken with a little soy sauce or… well… you get the picture. It’s often served with a long piece of fried bread (gluten-FILLED – warning!). I forgo the bread and eat the congee usually.

However, I much prefer the congee we make at home. One we can season to our own likings and not have to have a mild background for a hinted flavor of a topping. I love congee with chicken stock, garlic and onions, pieces of tender chicken cooked with the rice, small pieces of gluten-free lap cheong or Chinese sausage. Anything that adds to the richness but allows the soothing rice to fill you up. Perfect!

And then… well… we ate it ALL! Dang! We must have been hungrier than we thought. Then we remembered we had not eaten lunch… nor breakfast…. and hadn’t really had much more than orange juice and a bowl of cottage cheese between the two of us for dinner the night before. The only problem this posed was my now nothing-to-pack-for-lunch nightmare.

Thankfully savory grits made for a perfect solution. These grits are easy on the throat, savory and delicious. The accompanying skinless sausage bites with cooling cottage cheese was a perfect lunch.

I’m sure you Southern gals (and guys) have a million recipes for grits. Please be kind to me. I am just a Northern girl who hadn’t seen grits until I was probably 12. And even then? I saw them in a restaurant. The flavor, appearance and overall taste of the restaurant grits made me run for the hills and avoid the mere idea for ages.
This quick recipe is just meant to be that. Quick. Easy. Gluten-Free Lunch.

I hope you like it too. More importantly, I hope you have all begun your Chinese New Year in fabulous health and with growing prosperity and joy in your hearts.

Gluten-Free Savory Grits
Serves 1 for lunch
Ingredients:
¼ cup coarse corn meal or corn meal grits
¾ chicken stocks
1 carrot, dice
1 clove of garlic, minced
Pinch of salt
Pinch of pepper
½ + teaspoon of tarragon
½ teaspoon olive oil

Directions:

  1. In a small saucepan over medium heat, heat olive oil. Add carrots and sauté for 3 minutes or until color becomes vivid and the carrots are slightly softened.
  2. Add garlic and sauté 1-2 minutes until fragrant.
  3. Add corn meal, chicken stock, salt, pepper and tarragon.
  4. Stir slowly until stock begins to simmer. Lower heat and stir occasionally until done (5-8 minutes).
  5. Eat immediately or pack in your own little bento for lunch.

Happy Gluten-Free Eating all.

I’ll be back later this week to catch up on some posts… like the Tag from the GlutiGirls, some updates on croissants and bread, etc. Oh my! Time flies when you’re downing the ice chips, huh?

-Kate

6 comments on “Bento Lunch: Savory Grits, sausage bites and cottage cheese
  1. carrie says:

    i love me some grits katie girl!!! I need to make some soon! They are so good! I have got to get one of those bento lunch thingies…. everybody loves them!! Get better soon!

  2. Natalie says:

    So cute! Grits are a wonderful comfort food. My crew has been sick for three weeks. Get better!!

  3. Kara says:

    I love that so many gluten-free-ers do bentos, and I love your sauce container. You know, I’m from the south and always looked at grits as a dish with a nasty (well..gritty) consistency served with congealed butter–my grandmother was the only person I knew that ate them. It wasn’t until I realized that the Bob’s Red Mill GF Mighty Tasty Hot Cereal is basically grits and that I could eat it with a little melted cheddar plus walnuts that I began to revise my opinion of grits. Hope you feel better!

  4. Kristina says:

    Wait- GF lap cheong?! I used to eat lap cheong when I was a kid, but haven’t had a single taste since I was diagnosed with celiac at age 13! Please elaborate…

    Gung hay fat choy!

  5. Your bento is so cute! I hope you are well soon. Our whole house has been sick and we are not all over it yet either.

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