If I’m a tomato (stay with me… we’re in this together).
If I’m a tomato, hanging out with the rest of my tomato buddies, piled together on a grocery display I might daydream about the things I could become. A tomato, lazing around, thinking about its potential. I’ve come so far afterall… from flower, to green, to ripe, to picked. I’ve avoided bug predators, I’ve managed a trip on a truck, I’ve been manhandled and squeezed, maybe dropped on my bottom. I’ve been through a lot.
But what will I beeeeee? Will I be someone’s favorite fresh salsa? Will I be Grandmom’s pasta sauce? Will there be mozzarella? Please say there will be cheese. I’m so good with cheese. Please please please don’t make me a salad unless there’s some sort of cheese and peach situation involved. Please let me be well seasoned… just let me be picked by someone who knows how to salt me well. I mean, isn’t that what we all want?
If I were a tomato (you’re still with me and I appreciate it), I’d be singing praises at this recipe. Potential realized. I am delicious.
Stuffed with creamy cheese, andouille sausage, resting atop creamy grits? A tomato’s best life. Complete!
Here’s what you’ll need:
Tomatoes- I chose the medium sort. The sort that stand on their own. The sort that have their green tops and a hunk of vine left on them at the grocery. Maybe you’ve grown your own this summer? If that’s the case I salute you. You’re doing it right.
Holy Trinity down in these parts that means Cajun style. Diced onion, diced celery, and diced bell peppers. Our base flavors.
Andouille Sausage- I chose the pre-cooked sort and diced it into cubes. Feel free to use any sausage you’d like, just crumble and cook it if necessary.
Grits- The coarse sort of added bite and texture. We’re adding a dash of butter and cream, too… for good measure.
For the stuffing: goat cheese + eggs + bread crumbs + parsley + cajun spice + salt and peppah.
Here’s how we cook!
Heat up a glug of olive oil in a saute pan and add onions.
Toss in the celery.
Toss in the peppers, too!
After the trinity cooks down some, add the sausage bits and cook down until browned and crisp.
This is good. This is very good.
While the sausage cooks down, set those grits to cook.
I used McEwen & Sons Grits which are delightfully coarse and add a mega amount of texture to this dish. They take a bit longer to cook down. Absolutely delicious with a pat of butter and a splash of cream… but what isn’t really? You know?
To make the cheese base for the stuffing, start by crumbling goat cheese into a bowl.
Eggs for binding. Two will do.
Bread crumbs for body.
Salt and pepper for flava.
I need a bigger pepper grinder but this one is my good luck charm.
We’re going Cajun so bust out the Tony Chachere’s seasoning.
It’s a combination of peppers, celery salt, mustard powder, chili powder, unicorn magic…. it’s got it all and if you’re anything like me, it’ll make you sneeze a few times shaking it out.
And fresh parsley!
The browned trinity and sausage are added to the cheese filling.
Fold to combine and anticipate your successes. They are many (your successes) and this is looking great!
Onto those tomatoes!
Slice off the tops and save them. Our stuffed tomatoes need lids.
I used a small spoon to carefully dig the guts out of each tomato.
Hold the tomato firmly and show it who is boss… it takes a gentle confidence to scoop the guts out of the tomato and maintain its shape.
I’ve found it’s best to use tomatoes on the firm side. Soft buddies will collapse.
Get the cheesy mixture in there, allowing the stuffing to come up a bit over the top edge of the tomato.
Hat back on!
Once all the tomatoes are stuffed (I mean… look how exciting this is getting!), drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper.
Ready for the oven!
The goal is to cook the tomatoes until the insides are heated through to melty and thick, until the tomatoes are softened and lightly browned, but still strong enough to hold their shape. 20 – 25 minutes is just the ticket.
The eggs will help puff the filling just slightly. The breadcrumbs and eggs will thicken and bind and add body to the melty goat cheese.
It’s a little bit of magic and we get to eat it!
Creamy grits into a bowl.
Tomatoes to top.
Tops removed and tomatoes sliced into, the creamy, cheesy, savory mixture work their way into the grits with ease. Really such a simple, happy, summer-loving bowl!
Cajun Stuffed Tomatoes with Creamy Grits
- Prep Time: 30
- Cook Time: 20
- Total Time: 50 minutes
- Yield: 8
- 8 medium tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 cup diced onion
- 1/2 cup diced celery
- 1/2 cup diced red pepper
- 1 cup diced fully-cooked andouille sausage
- 6 ounces goat cheese
- 2 large eggs
- 4 tablespoons bread crumbs
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- 1 scant teaspoon cajun seasoning (like tony chacheries)
- fresh cracked black pepper
- olive oil, salt and pepper for topping the tomato before baking
For the Grits
- 4 cups water
- 1 cup coarse stone ground grits
- salt and pepper
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons heavy cream
- Place a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Cut the top off of tomatoes, setting them aside but saving them. Use a small spoon to dig the seeds and guts out of each tomato, discarding the guts. Set aside the tomatoes and tops.
- Heat olive oil in a medium saute pan. Add onions, celery, and peppers. Saute until vegetables are softened and begin to brown, about 5 minutes. Add the sausage and cook until sizzling and browned, about 5 minutes more. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.
- In a medium bowl, combine goat cheese and eggs. Whisk until relatively smooth. Add the bread crumbs, parsley, seasoning, and black pepper. Stir until well combined.
- Fold in the cooked onion and sausage mixture, using a spatula to bring together.
- Generously spoon the cheese mixture into each tomato, allowing it to overflow over the top just slightly. Place in a baking dish and top with a tomato top. Continue until all tomatoes are stuffed and placed in the dish. Drizzle the tops of all of the stuffed tomatoes with olive oil, sea salt, and fresh cracked pepper.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes, until bubbling and the tops begin to brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly before serving.
- To make the grits, bring 4 cups of water to a boil. Stir in the grits, lower heat to a simmer, and cook until thickened and tender. Depending on the coarseness of your grits, this may take 15 to 30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add butter and cream. Taste and adjust seasoning to your liking.
- To serve, spoon grits into a bowl. Top with a warm stuffed tomato and enjoy!
Photos with Jon Melendez