In Pensacola, Florida, you'll find The Coffee Cup, according to John T. Edge, a "de facto clubhouse, the place where cops and attorneys, drywall hangers and artists, dilettantes and debutantes gather to eat grits and eggs in the morning."
An adaptation of The Coffee Cups' grits recipe appears in Edge's Southern Belly: The Ultimate Food Lover's Companion to the South, and that recipe in itself is a riff on one passed on to The Coffee Cup through many hands. Now, it passes to you.
If you'd like to read more about The Coffee Cup and other Southern delights, grab a copy of Southern Belly for yourself.
- 1/2 pound bacon
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 1 bell pepper, seeded and finely chopped
- 3/4 cup ground or finely chopped ham (about 6 ounces)
- 1 14-ounce can chopped tomatoes
- 1 teaspoon finely chopped garlic
- 3/4 cup uncooked white grits
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the bacon and cook, turning once, until crisp, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove to a plate lined with paper towels. Once cooled, crumble into bits and set aside.
Pour off all the bacon drippings except for 2 to 3 tablespoons. Add the onion and bell pepper and saute until the onion is translucent, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the ham, stirring to mix well. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes and garlic and reduce the heat to low. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, cook the grits as directed on the package instructions. When they reach a creamy state, stir in the ham and tomato mixture. Taste and adjust for seasoning with salt and pepper. Transfer to a large serving bowl and crumble the bacon over the top. Serve immediately.