Grits -- Savory Recipes
I'm sad to say that I have just discoverd grits -- how good they CAN be. Now, I'm desperate to explore different ways to make them. Please share recipes and complimentary dish ideas! It might be too much to ask, but healthy preparations are more than welcome, too!
I'll try to get my mother-in-law's recipe for cheese grits. One suggestion I have is to try the coarser stoneground grits (someitmes called "popcorn" grits) They are exponentially more delicious than garden-variety grits. Here is a link to Weisenberger Mills in Kentucky. There are other sources of stoneground grits, but these are the ones available locally.
I like these corn and grit timbales. They make a great side for pork chops or pork tenderloin.
Corn and Grit Timbales
3 cups water or chicken stock
3/4 cup stone ground grits
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1/2 cup whipping cream
1/2 cup chives or green onions, minced
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups corn
salt and pepper, to taste
1. Bring the water or stock to boil in a medium saucepan. Stir in the grits and salt. Simmer, covered, for 15 minutes, or until the liquid is absorbed, remove from heat. (cooking time varies, so keep an eye on them.)
2. Add the cheese, cream, chives, eggs, corn, salt and pepper; mix well. Spoon into 12 muffin cups sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. Place in larger pan with 1 1/2 inches warm water.
3. Bake at 350 for 20 - 30 minutes or until set. Cool slightly before unmolding.
Oh, grits! Growing up in NC, they were a major childhood comfort food for me. My favorite recipe comes from Crook's Corner in Chapel Hill. If you are ever in the Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill area, check them out on Franklin Street. The shrimp and grits are to die for. I have their recipe, acquired in the late 80s/early 90s, but I can't find it at the moment. If I can find it, I will post it later.
Here is a vegetarian adaptation of their recipe:
4 c. water
1 c. grits
½ t. salt
4 T. butter
1 c. grated cheddar cheese
½ c. grated parmesan cheese
pinch cayenne pepper
pinch white pepper
dash of hot sauce (like Tabasco or Texas Pete)
Bring water to a boil. Slowly stir in grits, reduce heat. Continue cooking, stirring frequently, for about 20 minutes. At the end, stir in salt and butter.
Add cheeses and nutmeg, cayenne pepper, and white pepper. Adjust to taste.
Never, never, never use instant grits. You deserve better! Definitely look for stoneground. I prefer Bob's Red Mill brand, which is available in some grocery stores and many specialty markets on the west coast. I also like to use different cheeses and seasonings, depending on my mood. Italian cheeses tend to be good choices, as grits is very similar to the peasant staple polenta. Fontina works great instead of cheddar and grana and asiago are good instead of parmesan.
A healthier idea for grits is to prepare them without butter or cheese (okay, maybe a bit), but including salt, pepper, and garlic for flavor. Then, use the grits as a base for sauteed garlic shrimp with hot sauce. Or form refrigerated plain grits into patties and saute them in olive oil. Serve with the tomato-based sauce of your choice and some fresh basil.
I think I have to make grits for dinner tonight, now.