Chamomile Grits with Blueberry Compote

I confess, I did some panic grocery buying when this pandemic first started. When the grocery isles were low on rice, beans, and pasta, I randomly stocked up on bags of grits hoping to stretch them out into many meals.

chamomile grits with blueberry compoteBeing full-time nomads with no home, Dan and I were camping in Arizona when things “went south” with the coronavirus. We weren’t sure what to do as we watched our year of travel plans disintegrate before our eyes. We ended up sheltering in place in two different Arizona campgrounds over two months before returning to family and friends in Colorado.

camper quarantine in arizona
Camper quarantine in Arizona, where many meals of grits were consumed

One bonus of camper quarantine is you get good at making simple yet filling meals with few ingredients. Turns out grits are the perfect camping food. They cook up in minutes, they’re filling, and they can go either sweet or savory. Grits make a hearty breakfast, especially if you stir in milk, honey, fruit, and nuts. We made many camper dinners of cheesy grits topped with sautéed veggies and/or seared sausage, depending on what we could find during our infrequent trips to the grocery store.

grits and bluberries a great pairingWhen we finally returned to Colorado I had the best package waiting for me from Amora Coffee. Amora sent me a sample of their tea subscription program to review, which included a tin of luscious chamomile pyramid tea bags.

Amora artisan tea subscriptionAmazingly, I wasn’t sick of grits yet and had some leftover from our camper food stash. I set out to create a quick and flavorful breakfast grits recipe inspired by our camping meals and infused with Amora’s organic chamomile blossoms.

Amora chamomile blossomsWhy this recipe works with tea: One of the easiest ways to incorporate tea into your cooking is to steep it in the liquid you’re using in a recipe. All you need to cook grits is water, so infusing the water with tea is an easy flavor upgrade. Chamomile is a flower that can be steeped for a long time without getting bitter like black or green tea, so it’s simple to make a strong chamomile brew whose flavor will shine in whatever you’re cooking. In this case, the honey and floral notes of chamomile blossoms pairs nicely with the sweet corn flavor and creamy texture of cooked grits.

grits and blueberriesIf you’ve ever had a blueberry-corn muffin you know how well these two ingredients go together. This was my inspiration for a fruit partner to the grits. I infused blueberries with chamomile as well in a quick compote of blueberries, chamomile tea, and honey.

chamomile grits for breakfastThis recipe is easily adaptable. A bit of zested ginger or lemon peel adds a complementary zing to the compote. Swap the blueberries with strawberries for an equally delicious fruit-corn pairing. Top with chopped nuts, like walnuts or almonds, to add an earthy crunch to the whole bite.

Happy cooking & sipping!

P.S. Thanks to Amora Coffee for sending me samples of their organic artisan tea blends to sip and cook with in my tea foodie kitchen. At the time of this post you can try Amora’s Tea to Home Delivery Program for free (plus $1 shipping). Flavors vary, but I can vouch for the exquisite Earl Grey and the surprisingly rich Chamomile. The Green Cloud Mist is heavenly too. Thanks, Amora!

Chamomile Grits with Blueberry Compote

By Suzanne Klein, Tea Foodie

Makes 2 servings

Ingredients

For the brewed tea:

3 chamomile pyramid tea bags (or 3 heaping teaspoons loose chamomile flowers)

1 3/4 cups water

For the compote:

1/4 cup brewed chamomile tea

1/2 cup blueberries

1 1/2 teaspoons honey (or maple syrup)

Optional: 1/2 teaspoon fresh grated ginger or lemon zest

For the grits:

Remaining brewed chamomile tea (about 1 cup)

1 cup milk (any kind)

Pinch of salt

1 cup corn grits (also labeled polenta, don’t use instant grits)

1 tablespoon butter

1 1/2 teaspoons honey (or maple syrup)

Optional: 1/4 cup chopped nuts (walnuts, pine nuts, almonds)

Preparation

For the tea:

1. Bring water to a boil and pour over chamomile bags (or loose chamomile flowers). Let steep for 15 minutes. Remove bags (or strain loose chamomile).

2. Measure out 1/4 cup brewed chamomile tea to use in compote. Reserve remaining chamomile tea for grits.

For the compote:

1. Combine compote ingredients in a medium saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook until several berries have burst and liquid has thickened slightly, about 7 minutes.

2. Using a rubber spatula, transfer compote to a small bowl to cool. Rinse out saucepan to use for grits.

For the grits:

1. In the same (now clean) saucepan used for compote, bring remaining chamomile tea and milk to a boil over medium heat.

2. Reduce heat to medium-low and stir in grits and salt. Cover and cook at a low simmer until grits have soaked up all the liquid and are tender, about 7 minutes. Stir every few minutes so grits don’t stick to bottom of pan. When done, grits should easily slide off the stirring spoon but should no longer be runny. They will thicken even more as they cool.

3. Off heat, stir in butter and honey. Scoop into serving dishes and top with compote and chopped nuts if using.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. kowz4neighbors says:

    Reblogged this on Kowz4Neighbors and commented:
    Oh, wow! This sounds incredible!

    1. Tea Foodie says:

      Thanks for your comment! I love these tea-infused grits.

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