Monday, October 11, 2010

Grits 101

So here's a secret for you non-Southerners.  That polenta you've been eating for years and drooling over in restaurants?  Grits in chic clothing.  So you might as well open your minds and your hearts to a dish we can't live without down here.

We eat grits for breakfast, sometimes for lunch, and very often for dinner.  They are made from dried corn.  They are referred to in the plural.  There probably is such a thing as "a grit" - but not in our vocabulary.  The best grits are milled the old fashioned way - stone ground.  The purists - especially the chefs - wouldn't think of offering anything but stone ground grits on their menus.  Stone ground grits have more texture than commercial brands such as Quaker Quick Grits.  But here's another secret - most of us aren't that discriminating.  In fact, I prefer Quaker Quick Grits, straight off the grocery store shelf - much in the same way any of you will gladly settle for a Hershey Bar if you get a chocolate craving and don't happen to be near the Godiva counter.  So if you decide to try this recipe, go buy a bag of Quaker Grits (not to be confused with Quaker Instant Grits, which you should avoid) and hold your head high.

Grits are not only delicious, they are versatile.  They are fabulous with nothing more than a knob of butter stirred in - but you can also finish them with a little heavy cream and grated cheddar cheese - or - heavy cream and Parmigiano Reggiano (my personal favorite) - or - red eye gravy, made from country ham drippings and black coffee (another post for another day, that country ham...) - or - cooked and baked with garlic and cheese - or smothered with spicy shrimp in a rich sauce for dinner.  So now that your mouth is watering, the basic recipe is below.  Once you master Grits 101, if you would like a Grits PhD, follow this link to the website of Anson Mills, purveyors of the real deal and a favorite of chefs everywhere.

Basic Grits
3 cups cold water
1 cup Quaker Quick Grits
1/2 teaspoon salt
Bring water to a boil.  Stir in the grits slowly.  Reduce heat to low.  Cook for five minutes, stirring occasionally. Cover with a lid once the boiling is reduced to a simmer. Add any or all of the following to your taste - butter, heavy cream, grated cheddar or parmesan cheese.
(Stone Ground grits require a little more cooking time, but the results are the same.  Follow the package directions.)

Enjoy, y'all!


  1. Beth, I'll never understand it when I hear someone say "I don't like grits". They've obviously never realized that they are what you said: versatile! Yummy with gravy! Yummy with butter! Yummy with maple syrup! What's not to like!
    Hugs, Diane

  2. I never knew there were so many ways to fix grits. I thought it was supposed to be like cream of know, served with butter and brown sugar. Hmmm....

  3. Grits 102 - a few recipes for things like Shrimp and Grits, Baked Cheese Grits, etc., coming soon:) Thanks, Jenni!

  4. Just yesterday, I stopped by my parents house after dropping the boys off at school and my Dad was taking a bowl out of the microwave and I asked whatcha eatin'?......grits, he said. My Dad is Missouri born and raised so that explains it, however, I don't think I have ever tried grits. You have shed a new light on grits so now maybe I will give 'em a try.
    Hugs, Teresa