Grits Recipe – A Southern staple breakfast or side dish that is creamy, cheesy and so versatile. Best served with eggs, sausages for breakfast and with other meaty proteins!
Our Black History Month food celebration wouldn’t be complete without this Southern staple GRITS. If you missed our Black History Month Virtual Potluck blog post, you can check out other delicious African cuisine recipes from my fellow black food bloggers right HERE.
What are Grits?
Those who come from the South are no strangers to grits. Grits are actually made from corn that is ground into a coarse meal. And then boiled and usually mixed with butter and milk.
Furthermore, it is also said to have originated from a Native American Muskogee tribe’s recipe during the 16th century. In which they would grind the corn in a stone mill to achieve that gritty texture. In case you’re wondering, grits can either be white or yellow; depending on the color of the corn used.
Types of Grits
Now before you put your head down for a big bowl of grits, you should know which type of grits to choose from. And you don’t need to be a Southerner to learn all of this, I’ll make it simple.
1. Stone-ground Grits. This is the less-processed type of grits as it is made from whole dried corn that have been coarsely ground between two stones of a grist mill. Generally speaking, they are more like the old-fashioned grits – more toothsome texture and rich corn flavor.
2. Quick or Regular Grits. These two are more processed compared with the first one. You see, the only difference between quick and regular grits is its granulation. Quick grits are finely ground and can be cooked in just 5 minutes while regular grits are medium grind and cooks in 10 minutes.
3. Instant Grits. Like instant oatmeal, instant grits are quickly cooked with a boiling water. But the downside is they’re not as flavorful compared to those mentioned above.
4. Hominy Grits. Hominy is made from corn kernels that have been soaked in a solution that softens and removes its outer hulls and germs. They are dried and ground into hominy grits.
What Does Grits Taste Like?
That’s a good question! After all, we swear by how over-the-top this Shrimp and Grits is. But actually, grits don’t have a taste on their own. Instead, they become well-seasoned depending on what you simmer them in. In any case, they need to be well-seasoned for your palate to appreciate it.
Are Grits and Polenta the Same?
There’s a thin line that separates between polenta and grits. And they are both made from corn; ground corn to be exact. But they are made from two different types of corn and its granulation. And of course, there’s also the taste and texture difference.
Most grits from the South are made from what is called dent corn (a starchy variety of corn), whereas in Italy, polenta is made from flint corn (has a hard starch in the center). These differences makes grits almost mushy and polenta more toothsome. However, polenta is more prone to hold a cake-like shape when it cools down and grainier compared to grits.
Like this Polenta the “Caribbean-style” aka Cornmeal Coo Coo down below.
Can you use cornmeal for grits?
Yes, you can. While cornmeal and grits can be substituted for each other. Cornmeal yields to a finer and much smoother dish than grits.
How to cook grits?
Grits have always been a breakfast staple in the Southern part of the U.S. You can go as plain as boiling and simmering them in a liquid with a splash of milk and butter or as fancy as topping it with juicy flavorful bacon and to-die-for gravy.
You can probably try any of the recipes above, using cornmeal, polenta or grits alternately. This way, you’ll be able to discover what suits your taste buds and include the one you like best as a household staple. Meanwhile, you can start the most basic recipe of them all- this creamy, cheesy GRITS recipe.
Tips and Notes:
- You can top grits with almost anything – from eggs to sausages and shrimps to simply butter.
- Yes, you can substitute grits with cornmeal.
- Grits thicken as they sit, so serve immediately or stir in a bit more of milk before serving.
- 1 cup Quick Grits
- 2 cups water
- 3 cups milk , sub with water
- 1 bay leaf
- 3-4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1-2 cups white sharp cheddar cheese , preferably smoked
- salt to taste
- Start by adding water, milk, bay leaf and salt to a heavy sauce- pan. Bring to a boil.
- Gradually whisk in the grits, until you have added the whole thing in the pot, a little at a time. Keep stirring with a whisk to prevent any lumps.
- You may have to remove sauce- pan from heat while trying to get rid of lumps – if needed.
- Reduce heat and cook grits at a bare simmer, covered, stirring frequently, until water is fully absorbed and grits thickened. This will take you about 15 minutes.
- Remove grits from heat; add butter and cheese, stirring with a whisk until cheese melts.
- Assemble the dish by placing the grits at the bottom of a shallow bowl, Cajun shrimp and it’s sauce. Enjoy piping hot!
Tips & Notes:
How to Cook Grits
Start by adding water, milk, bay leaf and salt to a heavy sauce pan. Bring to a boil.
Gradually whisk in the grits, until you have added the whole thing in the pot, a little at a time. Keep stirring with a whisk to prevent any lumps. You may have to remove sauce pan from the heat while trying to get rid of lumps – if needed.
Reduce heat and cook grits at a bare simmer. Frequently stir until water is fully absorbed and grits thicken. This will take you about 15 minutes.
Remove grits from heat; add butter and cheese.
Stirring with a whisk until cheese melts. Assemble the dish by placing the grits at the bottom of a shallow bowl, Cajun shrimp and it’s sauce. Enjoy piping hot!