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Grits for a crowd...

I'm planning a dinner for about 20 people and we'll be making grits. Having never made them before I just wanted to get any pointers or information I should have for making them in such quantity. Is it easy to double, or even triple, recipes? What else should I take into account? Help! This northerner is open to any and all advice. Thanks!!

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  1. I'm going to jump in here first and I'm sure you'll get lot's of info on this. Have you ever made polenta? It's the same simple process, lots of boiling salted water to start and good quality grits. I usually do about a 4:1 ratio of water to grits in a big heavy pot (I use a Le Crueset) and slowly pour the grits into boiling water as I stir to prevent lumps from forming. I cover it and lower the heat to VERY low and leave it for a while, stirring it every 10 minutes or so. As it thickens, I'll stir more often. Be patient and add more water if it's thickening too much before the grits are creamy enough. I don't want crunchy grits. I wait until the end to add butter, cream, cheese or whatever. I really love the flavor of good grits and in my opinion, cooking with milk or cream the whole time masks the flavor.

    It is really easy to make a big pot of grits (or two) for a crowd. Just make sure you have a big enough pot and enough time. Give yourself and hour to cook the grits. I recommend stone ground grits.

    4 Replies
    1. re: WCchopper

      Has anyone ever made grits in a slow cooker? Would love advice on liquid/grits ratio.

      1. re: maggiej

        Here's an Alton Brown/Good Eats recipe that uses baking as the cooking method.
        I've made this recipe and it's very easy and really good.

        Savory Polenta
        http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/al...

        1. re: Antilope

          Very interesting idea...it usually takes me about 45 minutes of near constant stirring to get perfect grits/polenta...i'm gonna try the oven method next time...

          As a side note: there was a time when i had access to a bain marie/double boiler(the kind they use to hold soups at in restaurants.) I would make the grits as usual, then place over the bottom pot of boiling water and cover with plastic...This was a great no-stir method and finished in about 45 minutes.

        2. re: maggiej

          I haven't made this recipe, but it has good reviews on Recipezaar.
          Slow Cooker Cheddar Polenta
          http://www.recipezaar.com/Slow-Cooker...

      2. i'm so glad you asked this! i'm making shrimp & grits for about 10 people for a quick dinner before we head to a show this friday - i'm thinking it won't be so bad, i'll use about 3 cups of grits and 12 cups water with butter / parmesan added at the very end. any other tips would be most appreciated!

        8 Replies
        1. re: jmullen1251

          I'm guessing the time of grits cooking draweth nigh. Any specific questions not covered already? It's really pretty easy. Don't forget to salt your water.....

          1. re: WCchopper

            For grits in the slow cooker, what should the water/grits ratio be?

            1. re: maggiej

              i have never done them in a slow cooker, but just thinking about it, it would be a similar environment to the oven method someone mentioned above. I would try those proportions......see what happens. Post back! I'm eager to hear how that goes!

              1. re: WCchopper

                I saw some recipes with 5/1 ratio water to grits, and some with 3/1. My slow cooker cooks QUITE slowly on the low setting. I used 2 cups stoneground grits to 9 cups water and cooked on low for about 10 hours. Not all the water was absorbed by then, so I turned it up to high for a bit, even stirring with the lid off, until the right consistency (about 40 min.) They were delicious. Next time I might try decreasing the water a little, or starting on high for an hour before switching to low.

                1. re: WCchopper

                  I did grits for 45-50 in a slow cooker over Thanksgiving weekend. Worked like a charm, as easy as falling off a horse. Use the usual ratio of water to grits (not the par-cooked or instant kind), put it into your slow cooker w/salt, and whisk to combine thoroughly. Set on the 12-hour cook setting (also called "low" on some slow cookers). The grits will be thick, creamy, and perfectly cooked when you return. Some spots may be thicker than others, but a quick whisking before serving will even out the mix.

                  I stirred in a 12 oz log of goat cheese, lots of black pepper, and chopped green onions, just for a little tang and color contrast, before serving with grillades.

                  Another good do-ahead method: tried-and-true baked cheese grits. Combine cooked grits, a beaten egg or two, and lots & lots of grated cheddar cheese. You can refrigerate it at this point until you're ready to bake. Spread in a casserole dish and bake until slightly browned and set.

                  1. re: Hungry Celeste

                    Hi, I want to do baked cheese grits for part of a large Derby party....For 50 people..
                    Is it possible to make them the day before and reheat?
                    Or if using a slow cooker (I'd have to borrow one) how big was yours?
                    Thanks a million.

                    1. re: judywendt

                      Did you ever get an answer? I'm planning on making baked cheese grits for our Derby party and I expect a crowd about the same size. Would love to know any tips on do-ahead prep.

                      1. re: KateMW

                        I had success. Just made the recipe to the point of baking, then put into baking dish and refrigerated. Did that a couple of days ahead. Then on derby day, baked at350 for an hr. To an hr. And a half. They were great.if you want my recipe ,let me know. I find using cheap sharp cheddar works better than more expensive. I cook VERY slowly.

          2. Thanks to CH expatslat who posted this recipe here, http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/328327, this recipe is now my favorite way to cook polenta. However, I find it cooks much faster in my oven that what the recipe says. Although I've never tried it with grits, I don't see why you couldn't substitute grits for polenta in this recipe. Good luck!

            4 cups water
            1 cup yellow cornmeal or regular (but not instant) coarse polenta
            2 tbsp. unsalted butter, thinly sliced
            1 tsp. Kosher salt
            1/2 tsp. freshly milled black pepper
            2 oz. provolone cheese, grated (about 1/2 cup
            )2 oz parmesan cheese, finely grated

            Preheat oven to 350F. Mix water, cornmeal/polenta, butter, salt, and pepper in a medium-sized baking dish. Do not cover. Bake on the uppermost shelf of the oven for 40 minutes.
            Take the dish out of the oven, stir; bake for 10 more minutes. Take the dish out of the oven, again; stir in provolone and salt and pepper. Let stand five minutes. Top with parmesan. This is good also with mozzarella substituted for provolone. The original recipe recommends topping with cooked tomatoes, mushrooms, or artichokes.

            1. At first I thought the post said, "gifts for a crowd". I was going to say "give em each a hard boiled egg with a christmas tree drawn on it". These are hard economic times.

              1. Cook's Illustrated March 2010 almost no-stir stove top polenta:

                Creamy Parmesan Polenta
                http://kathrynannew.wordpress.com/201...