Jump to content

Grits


JLK
 Share

Recommended Posts

Having spent my first 27 or so years mostly north of the Mason-Dixon line, grits are new for me. I started digging around for recipes after hearing my beloved comment on his fondness for them.

Alton Brown's cheesy grits recipe from the Food Network's site has served me well, but I'd love to try other preparations. If you have suggestions, please post 'em here.

I'd also love to hear your thoughts on DC restaurants that serve great grits. Personally, I really like the ones that Saint Ex serves for brunch, but when my man and I went there on Sunday, he said "good, but not authentic; perhaps not even grits!" :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Grits taste like whatever you put on or in them. If you want them sweet, add maple syrup. If you want them savory, add bacon or cheese or green onion or garlic or combination thereof. Either way, significant amounts of butter are a requirement, but keep it simple - the artisanal cheese grits souffle-type preparations may taste good, but at the same time they're Wrong.

The problem with the Alton Brown recipe is that it doesn't use actual grits, although the liquid to solid proportions sound workable, and I don't see any reason it wouldn't work with regular grits. I suspect if he tried to serve that recipe to his grandmother without substituting real grits, he'd hear about it; I wouldn't dare try to serve it to mine.

This recipe from Threadgill's in Austin is pretty good (and you can substitute other cheese for Velveeta, although that might affect the texture a little.) I'd also recommend checking out any of Bill Neal's cookbooks, although his shrimp and grits recipe is online here.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Try fried grits. Cook your grits as you normally would when they are done, pour them into a greased loaf pan and put in the refrigator overnight. The next morning, turn the congealed loaf onto a cutting board and slice off some pieces. Brown the slices in a hot skillet ini either butter or bacon grease. I've been known to use maple syrup on them.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

That was my favorite breakfast when I was a kid ('cept Mom used polenta).  That and jelly crepes.  Damn I'm getting hungry reading this forum.  Braised beef, Palena-esque chicken, ricotta donuts....

You raise a good question. What is the difference between grits and polenta, other than the color? In order to get my kids to eat polenta (which wasn't hard) I just told them that polenta was Italian grits.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You raise a good question.  What is the difference between grits and polenta, other than the color?  In order to get my kids to eat polenta (which wasn't hard) I just told them that polenta was Italian grits.

I'd like to know that, too, 'cause I sure don't buy what Alton Brown sold in that one episode - that they're exactly the same. They ain't. They have to be different kinds of corn, processed differently. Otherwise what accounts for coarse and white vs fine and yellow?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I read that and I'm still scratching my head trying to discern the difference.  Is polenta the same as "true" or "hominy" grits but difference that "regular grits?"

To make grits, you grind corn (preferably with stone) then sift it through a screen - cornmeal goes through... grits remain.

You can make grits with either whole corn (yellow) or hulled-corn (white). Hominy grits are also hulled... but through a specific process called Nixtamalization.

Polenta is made using the exact same technique as yellow grits (Ground corn that has not been hulled). Therefore, sometimes they're the same - sometimes they aren't.

More at wikipedia

Link to comment
Share on other sites

OK.  We've determined that there is a slight difference in the production methods for polenta and grits.  But from a taste and texture standpoint, I wonder what would happen in a blind taste test.

Between regular? Probably no big difference, but I bet hominy grits would be easily identified.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

No self-respectin' Southerner uses instant grits.

While my mother was from Georgia, I don't claim the area; however, I've been making the recipe in Nathalie Dupree's "Souther Memories" cookbook, which my grits-hating Yankee DH actually eats--he went to college in South Carolina and couldn't understand why anybody would eat anything "so runny." My Yankee brother and uncle would only eat them with grape jelly on them. :o Do you know how DISGUSTING that looks?

And, yes, I use the "quick" grits suggested in Dupree's recipe. (Running and ducking)

I've never even seen "Instant" grits for sale anywhere. Is it like "Instant Oatmeal?" :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Back to my original post, have any of you had the grits Saint Ex serves at brunch?  If so, WTF is going on there?  Like I said, I like them.  But I'm hearing they ain't actually grits.

I've had them (it was awhile ago, though). They seemed normal. Why do you say they aren't grits?

Here's Carole Greenwood's recipe for cheese grits (scroll to the bottom). Presumably it's what's used at Buck's. Not a fan, but now I see why I liked the grits-- they call for no water (unless they end up too dry), just cream, butter and cheese :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sadly, that link no longer works. ;) I am planning to make grits tonight (with Colorado Kitchen's being the model - YUM) to accompany flat iron steaks and asparagus.

Here's Carole Greenwood's recipe for cheese grits (scroll to the bottom). Presumably it's what's used at Buck's. Not a fan, but now I see why I liked the grits-- they call for no water (unless they end up too dry), just cream, butter and cheese :unsure:
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ah Grits. I love them. They are a wonderful food. Though Italians don't like to admit, polenta is a first cousin to grits. The difference between grits and polenta should be texture. True grits like I ate growing up in the south are not smooth, but every polenta dish I have every had is (somewhat) smooth. Also, grits should taste like corn as someone else mentioned upthread.

I make pretty spicy cheesy grits often at the end of a late night. Good eatin' I have never even heard of sweet grits, seems odd to me.

Free Wilma, I have to say I have not seen Instant Grits in the NoVa stores I have checked. I imagine they carry them in Atlanta but maybe not so much up here in the (almost) North. Grocery stores in the South carry Instant Grits in a range of flavors.

I have found 5 minute grits and regular take a long time grits at Harris Teeters in NoVa. They are stocked in the same section as Oatmel but are swallowed up in the section so hard to find. Literally, if I recall they were close to the floor in placement and only a few products were stocked.

I bought some stone milled grits the last time I was in Memphis. Solves that problem.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Here's Carole Greenwood's recipe for cheese grits (scroll to the bottom). Presumably it's what's used at Buck's. Not a fan, but now I see why I liked the grits-- they call for no water (unless they end up too dry), just cream, butter and cheese :unsure:
Sadly, that link no longer works. ;) I am planning to make grits tonight (with Colorado Kitchen's being the model - YUM) to accompany flat iron steaks and asparagus.
Looks like the Equinox website was remodeled after CJSAdler's original post. This link works and the recipe looks wonderful - thanks! Link to Carole Greenwood's Cheese Grits recipe
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Another link about grits (and "instant") grits:

grit click

I don't remember grits ever being served at any time other than breakfast ... at breakfast, always.

Clueless Northerners would sometimes put sugar on grits ... what a crime. Other additions ...

salt, pepper, grape jelly, butter (plenty of butter) were entirely acceptable.

Truck drivers would carry packages of 5-minute grits with them for those times when they left Dixie,

so they could just order a bowl of boiling water, which was easier than explaining what grits are.

Usually, grits were served at a more "soupy" form than polenta is served.

Somewhere, some Phd candidate in Anthropology must have done little maps showing where you can get

grits for breakfast, and other maps showing where you can get scrapple ... the overlap must be small

(south of Philly?)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I came across a recipe online called "Meatless Scrapple" which was really a grits cake. I adapted the recipe considerably, and have made it several times with great results. It goes without saying that this is made with long-cooking grits, not the "quick-cooking" or the abominable instant type. I have added different flavor elements, and add-ins, based on what I had on hand or was able to find in the market that day. It makes a great vegetarian entree or a side with other dishes.

GRITS CAKES

5 cups water

1 tsp. salt

1 cup grits

1/2 cup masa harina

Small onion, chopped

clove garlic, roasted preferably, chopped

roasted poblano chile, chopped (or canned green chile)

small can white hominy (posole), drained & rinsed (or use canned or frozen sweet corn if no hominy is available)

1 cup grated cheese (I have made this successfully with jack, cheddar, goat gouda, in combination with parmesan--I really think most any grating cheese will work)

2T butter

Heat water and salt until boiling

Add grits in a stream, stirring until well incorporated

Turn heat down and simmer, stirring occasionally for 15-20 minutes

In a saute pan, cook onion in a T or 2 of olive oil, add garlic and green chile

When grits have thickened, stir in sauteed veggies, drained hominy and simmer together for 5-10 minutes on low flame. Add cheese and stir until cheese has been incorporated. Add butter. Check seasonings.

Pour grits into a buttered rectangular casserole dish and smooth until even thickness. Allow it to cool for 45 min. to 1 hour. Cut solidified grits into large squares and then cut the squares diagonally into triangles. Remove grits triangle from pan, coat lightly with flour or masa harina. Brown in a skillet with olive or other vegetable oil until brown and crusty on both sides. Serve immediately as a side with something stew-y or soupy like chicken and green chile or shrimp creole, or as a main dish. The cheese gets melty inside and the grits are creamy under the crust, and it has an earthy, hominy flavor.

This can be made with a more "American" and less Mexican flavor, by making it with straight grits* instead of part grits/part masa harina and by eliminating the green chile and substituting sweet corn for the hominy.

*Use 1 1/4 cups grits/ 5 cups water

Link to comment
Share on other sites

As do Giant and Safeway - not sure where you've been looking. They're generally next to the oatmeal.
Have to admit I only remember looking at Harris Teeter (my store of choice for produce other than WF)... I probably found the 5 minutes grits and was happy. Now I am using my stone milled from Delta Mill... Next time I am at Giant/Safeway (for sodas and stuff), I'll check. Thanks for the heads up.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I grew up eating instant grits. I thought they were nasty then, and I think they are nasty now. Particularly the instant cheese grits or the bacon bit grits. ugh....blech.

I've found that I like using a coarse-ground cornmeal instead of hominy grits - sort of like the Alton Brown way. I just find the flavor to be more corn-like and the traditional grits to be a bit more flat in flavor. Subtle difference. Sometimes the Old Way isn't always the tastiest! Of course, plenty of milk and cheese will hide most anything.

Following up on Dame Edna... I'd never thought of grits being only a breakfast food, but after thinking about it, I can't remember ever having them outside of breakfast. Only exception would be grillades and grits late at night during Carnival, but that was always served next to eggs and other breakfast items, so I suppose that counts.

I've seen people put jelly on their grits - but I've always written that off to Bad Grits, which are, sadly, plentiful everywhere (including the South). I've never needed to add anything to good grits except for salt and pepper and, occasionally, some butter. Yum!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I grew up eating instant grits. I thought they were nasty then, and I think they are nasty now. Particularly the instant cheese grits or the bacon bit grits. ugh....blech.

I've found that I like using a coarse-ground cornmeal instead of hominy grits - sort of like the Alton Brown way. I just find the flavor to be more corn-like and the traditional grits to be a bit more flat in flavor. Subtle difference. Sometimes the Old Way isn't always the tastiest! Of course, plenty of milk and cheese will hide most anything.

Following up on Dame Edna... I'd never thought of grits being only a breakfast food, but after thinking about it, I can't remember ever having them outside of breakfast. Only exception would be grillades and grits late at night during Carnival, but that was always served next to eggs and other breakfast items, so I suppose that counts.

I've seen people put jelly on their grits - but I've always written that off to Bad Grits, which are, sadly, plentiful everywhere (including the South). I've never needed to add anything to good grits except for salt and pepper and, occasionally, some butter. Yum!

My brother and Uncle (both from New York State) would put grape jelly on their grits. Do you know how disgusting this looks? :unsure: My mother and her sister both grew up in Georgia with grits as part of their repertoire, usually with fried fish for dinner.

Dame Edna is from Long Island and told me that he didn't like grits. Couldn't understand why anyone would serve something so "runny." So, I fixed them using Nathalie Dupree's recipe from her book, Southern Memories. It calls for cooking the quick (not instant) grits in milk and heavy cream and then adding a bunch of grated parmesan cheese. They make a nice foil for Paul Prudhomme's barbequed shrimp. And, yes, Dame Edna will eat them. ;)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

So, I fixed them using Nathalie Dupree's recipe from her book, Southern Memories. It calls for cooking the quick (not instant) grits in milk and heavy cream and then adding a bunch of grated parmesan cheese. They make a nice foil for Paul Prudhomme's barbequed shrimp. And, yes, Dame Edna will eat them. :unsure:

I grew up with regular grits and agree with the people who say that "no self-respecting Southerner would use instant grits," or, for that matter, quick grits.

But I didn't grow up in a family where you had to get the food on the table before people starved.

And then I discovered stone-ground grits. Accept no substitute.

Keep them in the freezer, tightly wrapped. They take a long time to cook but no longer than, say, Irish oats or jasmine/Basmati rice.

If you wouldn't eat Uncle Ben's or instant oatmeal, don't eat instant grits.

Good grits taste like corn. Don't put anything on them you wouldn't put on corn (or mix with corn).

(I could digress to corn bread with molasses, which I also grew up on, but let's not.)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

And then I discovered stone-ground grits. Accept no substitute.

Keep them in the freezer, tightly wrapped. They take a long time to cook but no longer than, say, Irish oats or jasmine/Basmati rice.

Tonight I am not a self respecting Southerner as I used the last of my quick grits for a close to midnight snack. With a little bit of cheese they were very tasty but only the slightest hint of corn.

Ilaine, I agree about the stone ground grits but freezing them? The farmer from whom I bought the grits didn't tell me to refrigerate or keep them cold... am I missing something????

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Grits taste like whatever you put on or in them. If you want them sweet, add maple syrup. If you want them savory, add bacon or cheese or green onion or garlic or combination thereof. Either way, significant amounts of butter are a requirement, but keep it simple - the artisanal cheese grits souffle-type preparations may taste good, but at the same time they're Wrong.

The problem with the Alton Brown recipe is that it doesn't use actual grits, although the liquid to solid proportions sound workable, and I don't see any reason it wouldn't work with regular grits. I suspect if he tried to serve that recipe to his grandmother without substituting real grits, he'd hear about it; I wouldn't dare try to serve it to mine.

This recipe from Threadgill's in Austin is pretty good (and you can substitute other cheese for Velveeta, although that might affect the texture a little.) I'd also recommend checking out any of Bill Neal's cookbooks, although his shrimp and grits recipe is online here.

I made my rookie attempt grits tonight using a variation on the Bill Neal recipe. How'd I vary it? I used a mixture of heavy cream, milk and water instead of just water. It was a BIG hit with 3 out of 4 at my kitchen table. But who really worries about whether a 5 year old likes something new.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ilaine, I agree about the stone ground grits but freezing them? The farmer from whom I bought the grits didn't tell me to refrigerate or keep them cold... am I missing something????

Depends on how fast you use them up. If you use them up fast, no problem.

If you have more than you can use quickly, I'd freeze them, tightly wrapped to keep from drying out. It won't hurt the quality and prevents rancidity.

Regular grits have the germ removed, stone ground grits don't.

I use a Fresh-o-later.

I made my rookie attempt grits tonight using a variation on the Bill Neal recipe. How'd I vary it? I used a mixture of heavy cream, milk and water instead of just water. It was a BIG hit with 3 out of 4 at my kitchen table. But who really worries about whether a 5 year old likes something new.

Using cream and milk is what I do when I want to make shrimp 'n' grits. I think I got the recipe from Southern Living magazine.

My own variation, cook it in the Zojirushi fuzzy logic rice cooker, on the porridge setting. Takes longer but you don't have to stir or worry about burning.

For stone ground grits, use the recipe on the bag or box, as they take longer than other grits and also the proportion of grits to water is different.

Shrimp and grits. Mmmmmm. I wonder how salmon and grits would do?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...