When we rounded up the flavors and ingredients of the South, some commenters asked for more Southern food coverage here at The Kitchn. Well, we heard you (more than one of us is from the South, too), and we're bringing you one of the iconic Southern foods this morning...
For those of you who didn't grow up eating grits and think they're unappealing, let us offer a couple of possible explanations:
-You ate thin, flavorless grits that were inexpensive and quick-cooking (like instant, packet oatmeal instead of slow-cooking oats).
-There wasn't enough salt, butter, or cheese involved.
Grits are essentially ground hominy (for the novices, think the texture of polenta), and yes, they are pretty bland on their own (and yes, we consider them plural). We prefer stone-ground grits cooked with chicken broth if serving them alongside a main dish. If we're using less expensive, commercial grits, we like to make grits casserole--a cheesy, eggy, fluffy dish that, where we grew up, could only be made with tubes of processed Kraft garlic cheese.
If you are faced with boring-looking, uniformly white grits and are fresh out of processed Kraft, grate on some Parmesan or cheddar. Throw in some jalapeños. Spice em up.
Here are a few recipes, from breakfast to dinner:
- Cheddar Cheese Grits Casserole, from Southern Living
- Chile-Blue Cheese Grits, from Southern Living
- Grillades and Grits, from Southern Living
- Grits, Cheese, and Onion Soufflés, from Bon Appétit
- Baked Garlic Cheese Grits, from Paula Deen
- Shrimp and Grits, from Bob Waggoner of the Charleston Grill