Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Southern Classics: Grits

I am obsessed with classic southern foods. Well, sort-of. I don't eat pork or red meat, so I actually don't eat many southern-classics. But other than that, I am a fan: shrimp & grits; collard greens; homemade chocolate cake; pimento cheese; grits.

Oh grits. I didn't know the glory of grits until I moved to Texas in 2011. AR introduced me to grits at a small little breakfast joint in Houston. Having previously only enjoyed sweet porridges, salty, buttery, savory grits was not what I expected. And I loved it.

Then, when I visted AR's mother in Louisiana, I realized that every self-respecting southern woman makes grits. Of course I had to learn. I turned to the one southern recipe source that I know: Paula Dean. Her recipe calls for milk and water, which is not how AR's mom cooks them. I tried following her recipe once, but the grits got lumpy because the milk thickened so fast.

Then I switched to using all water, like A's mom does. These were good, but not as creamy as I like. So the struggle continued. Finally, 4 years later, I am a grits pro.

I use old fashion grits and milk. Milk makes the grits extra creamy, and the old fashion grits cook slow enough to prevent any lumps from forming. Be patient and take your time with these beauties. The longer you let them cook, the creamier they will turn out.

Serve your grits with butter, salt, pepper, and cheddar cheese. Go big and add a little garlic or a spoon full of pimento cheese, goat cheese, or crumbled bacon. If you are feeling really crazy, top them with an over-easy egg or roasted mushrooms. The possibilities are endless.

serves 3

1 1/2 c. water
2 c. milk  - 2% or whole is best
1/2 t. salt
3/4 c. old fashion white corn grits
1 T. butter
1/4 t. pepper

In a medium sauce pan, bring water, milk, and salt to a gentle boil. Turn the heat down to low and slowly stir in the grits. Continue to stir for several minutes to fully incorporate and prevent any sticking (I like to stir with a rubber spatula). Cover and cook on low for 20-30 minutes, stirring often. The grits are done when they have a creamy consistency and the liquid is fully absorbed. If necessary, add more liquid. Stir in the butter and pepper; serve.


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