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Seasons’ Eatings: Cheddar Grits with Turkey and Collard Green Hash

2012 November 15

by Kara Rota

New York, NY–Learning about Kiveve in Marc’s Relay post made me think immediately of grits, an extraordinarily comforting and easy-to-make breakfast for cold weather. I like my grits with sharp yellow New York cheddar, and can easily eat that alone for breakfast, but for this post I paired the grits with hash made of Applegate smoked turkey, Yukon Gold creamer potatoes (distributed by Uncle Vinny’s in the Bronx), local red onion, collard greens (also relayed from Marc’s recipe) and cilantro from Fairway. This would be an ideal breakfast for the day after Thanksgiving – just cook turkey leftovers with cold roasted or mashed potatoes and whatever greens you have on hand. Collards are hardier and tougher than spinach and kale, but boiling them first softens them so that they are tender by the sauteing stage. The sweetness of the red onion offsets the salty smoked turkey, and a sprinkle of fresh cilantro before serving brings the flavors together.

I appreciate meals like this that use meat as just another ingredient or even as a condiment rather than the center point, which is something I aim for in my cooking as often as I can. While I felt a pang of guilt for buying Applegate smoked turkey from Whole Foods rather than buying a turkey breast to roast at the farmers’ market, the time crunch won out. Applegate is an interesting company: huge and pervasive but determined to maintain a standard of ethical meat production we usually associate with local, small family farms. Applegate is also participating, as I am, in the upcoming New York Hack // Meat event, “bringing together technologists, entrepreneurs, creatives, policy experts, non-profit leaders and industry executives to develop technologies and tools that help democratize meat.” For me, a key solution in the future of meat is in moving it away from the center of the plate, where it takes up most of the space in our meal planning.

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Turkey & Collard Green Hash

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 30 minutes

Yield: 4 servings


  • 1/2 lb cooked turkey
  • 1 lb Yukon Gold potatoes
  • 1 large red onion
  • 1 large bunch collard greens
  • 1 bunch cilantro
  • Salt to taste

Cooking Directions

  1. Fill a large stockpot with water to boil.
  2. Wash the collard greens well and cut into 1-inch pieces, discarding stems and ribs. Kitchen shears work well for this.
  3. Add the greens to the boiling water, with a pinch of salt.
  4. Dice the potatoes, skin-on, and add them to the greens.
  5. Meanwhile, heat two tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet.
  6. Dice the red onion and add the the oil. Cook until browning (about 5 minutes).
  7. Dice the turkey and add to the skillet with the browned onion.
  8. Once the greens and potatoes are tender (about 15 minutes), drain them and add them to the skillet.
  9. Cook about 5 minutes before stirring, then cook another 5 minutes or until potatoes are browned and crispy.
  10. Serve with fresh cilantro sprinkled atop the hash.

One thing to keep in mind when making grits is that they expand when cooking even more than most grains – a quarter cup of dry grits is easily enough to make one or two cooked servings. In True Grit, Jeff Bridges’ character arrives at a house where a couple of bad guys are cooking dinner and says,”There’s an awful lot of sofkey” (as grits are sometimes called, from the Muskogee word), suspecting more bad guys are coming soon. “Sofkey always cooks up bigger than you think,” replies the bad guy. Great movie.

The milk in this recipe is truly fantastic, purchased at my 79th St. Greenmarket from Grazin’ Angus Acres in Ghent, NY. I used Cabot butter and Fairway’s New York cheddar.

Cheddar Grits

Prep time: 5 minutes

Cook time: 15 minutes

Yield: 4 servings


  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1/4 tsp salt, plus more to taste
  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 cup dry grits
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup cheddar cheese, grated or shredded

Cooking Directions

  1. Combine the water, salt and butter in a large pot and bring to a boil.
  2. Gradually stir in the grits. Return to a boil and then lower the heat as low as possible. Cook covered for 15-20 minutes, stirring very frequently.
  3. Add milk and stir for an additional 10 minutes, or until liquid is absorbed.
  4. Remove from heat and stir in cheese just before serving.

Cheddar Grits with Turkey and Collard HashKara is a professional food enthusiast at Cookstr, a freelance food writer, and a sporadic livetweeter @karalearota. She lives on Manhattan’s Upper West Side with her boyfriend and their cats, Gwildor & Mel.