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looking for a creamy, cheesy grits recipe

I had the most amazing lunch today--Blackened Shrimp with Cajun Crème Sauce, served over
Pepper Jack Grits--at a place called The Pecan in Atlanta. Now I'm back home in Seattle and despairing of ever finding anything like it here, unless I make it myself. Does anybody have a recipe that might come close?

I'm mainly interested in the grits as a side dish--not so much the shrimp. These were spectacularly creamy and rich. I'd prefer a recipe using regular grits, not quick-cooking--most likely Bob's Red Mill will be the easiest to find here. The sauce wasn't all that spicy--wish I'd paid more attention to the flavors in it, but I was too busy swooning over the fabulousness of the whole dish.

Any thoughts?

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  1. I love the stone-ground grits from Early's Honey Stand. wwwearlysgifts.com

    I use the recipe provided, adding grated cheese near the end and using milk, not water.

    1. For legitimate cheese grits, I usually use a combination of chicken stock and water (you can use milk if you like but I do prefer clear liquids), and simmer for about three times as long as the recipe calls for. Then, stir in cream and cheese until the texture looks right. You might experiment with a combination of shrimp stock, water and milk.

      You can order grits online, and although I love stone-ground grits and have them in my cupboard, Quaker quick-cooking (NOT instant) grits are good, even-textured, easy to get ahold of, and found in many a Southern cook's pantry. Instant grits are a pasty abomination, but quick-cooking grits don't have to be. Again, ignore the time on the label and definitely keep 'em simmering for a good 20 minutes.

      Have you thought of calling them up? You never know -- the chef might just be tickled pink that a Yankee wants his or her grits recipe! :)

      1 Reply
      1. I agree. I try to get stoneground grits, but Aunt Jimima (sp) makes old-time regular, long cooking grits that are very good. They're a little hard to find in our cook it fast world, so when I do find them, I buy 4 or 5 five-lb. bags and store them in the extra fridge. Also re creamy grits - some of the best I've had were actually baked. Go to myrecipes.com and foodnetwork.com to find many variations.

      2. No recipe that I can vouch for personally trying....but you might want to seek out a recipe that uses cream cheese, in addition to milk and aged cheese (e.g. pepper jack) for that extra creaminess. Like this one from the Pioneer Woman (though the tomatoes in the dish might not be approximating what you want....):

        http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/20...

        3 Replies
        1. re: 4Snisl

          I was just going to suggest cream cheese, more cheese, and butter. The benefit of grits made with cream cheese is that they seem to taste even more fabulous fried; I make a huge batch just to have leftovers to fry later.

          1. re: caseyjo

            Okay, gotta try that...you just make the cold grits into patties and fry them? Do you add anything more? Anything else I need to know?

            1. re: MsMaryMc

              That's pretty much it! One thing to do is pack the grits into a deep tupperware dish when you put the leftovers in the fridge. The grits set, and you can cut them into nice little squares.

        2. Bob's Red Mill grits (widely sold around Seattle) are a coarse grind yellow cornmeal, the same that you would use for polenta. Supposedly it will cook in 40 minutes, but I prefer 2 hours, ending up using a 5:1 liquid to corn ratio. I also use white quick grits (Quaker, Albers, Whitelilly), which also better with a longer cooking time - e.g. 30-40 minutes. If it gets too stiff during cooking just add more liquid.

          You could start off cooking it a flavored liquid, but in most cases it works just as well to add the flavors toward the end. Butter, cream, grated cheese will all add that creaminess.

          Creaminess is a function of long cooking, enough liquid, and rich additions.

          1. Thanks!! I knew that folks here would come through.

            I found a recipe in _The Complete Southern Cookbook_ and I'm going to tweak it with some of the suggestions here--substitute 1 cup rich chicken stock and 1 cup light cream for 2 cups half-and-half; and cook them more like 20-30 minutes instead of the recommended 5-7, adding more liquid if necessary. Knowing that there's a difference between quick-cooking grits (okay) and instant (not okay) helps, too--I think I'll try the quick-cooking kind after all (the ones I had for lunch were finer-grained than the Bob's Red Mill stoneground, and I loved that).

            I'll let y'all know how it turns out. Any other suggestions are still welcome!