Southern-Style Grits with Okra, Corn, and Goat Cheese

published Jun 19, 2020
Juneteenth
Southern-Style Grits with Okra, Corn, and Goat Cheese

Creamy stone-ground grits are topped with crisp roasted okra, buttery sautéed corn, and tangy goat cheese.

Serves4 to 6

Prep15 minutes

Cook1 hour 20 minutes

Jump to Recipe
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Two bowls of grits with corn and okra sit on a table. A small bowl of herbs sits of to the side.
Credit: Brittany Conerly

This year for Juneteenth hits different. There’s a lot to celebrate, but there are still so many barriers. One thing for certain is that gathering with friends and new acquaintances, enjoying a meal together (no matter how socially distant it may be), is something that brings us all together. For me, one of the most comforting meals to serve is a pot of creamy, buttery grits. 

I’ve always been a “grits for dinner” type of person — why should breakfast have all the fun? My favorite way to serve creamy Southern-style grits is with a bright topping of okra, summer corn, and tangy goat cheese. For this recipe I roast the okra in the oven (my go-to way to cook it), which helps cook out the slime faster than over the stovetop. I add it to the grits just before serving so it retains its crisp texture. The corn is cooked on the stovetop with onions, garlic, and fresh ginger. Ginger pairs wonderfully with the sweet corn and brings everything together — it adds a nice zip and flavor. 

I know there are a lot of people who despise goat cheese, but have no fear — you are more than welcome to substitute a cheese of your choice, like Parmesan. As for the grits themselves, some like theirs on the chunky side, while others prefer them creamier. Adjust this recipe to your preferences by adding as little or as much heavy cream as you like.

Credit: Brittany Conerly

The Best Grits Are Stone-Ground Grits

One thing I can promise you is that once you try stone-ground grits, you’ll never pick up a box of that instant stuff again. Sure, it’s more laborious, but the end result is like no other, and you can prep the veggies as the grits cook. Some of my favorite brands that sell stone-ground grits are Anson Mills and Geechie Boy Mill, which offers shipping nationwide

If you want to add some protein to this recipe, grilled chicken would work wonderfully, or you could even add sautéed shrimp to the corn mixture. If you do go the seafood route, be sure to add it towards the end of the cooking. 

Southern-Style Grits with Okra, Corn, and Goat Cheese

Creamy stone-ground grits are topped with crisp roasted okra, buttery sautéed corn, and tangy goat cheese.

Prep time 15 minutes

Cook time 1 hour 20 minutes

Serves 4 to 6

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

For the grits:

  • 4 cups

    water

  • 1 1/2 cups

    stone-ground grits

  • 1/2 cup

    heavy cream

  • 4 tablespoons

    unsalted butter

  • Kosher salt

For the corn and okra:

  • 8 ounces

    fresh okra

  • 1/2

    medium yellow onion

  • 4 cloves

    garlic

  • 1 (1-inch) piece

    fresh ginger

  • 2 cups

    fresh corn kernels (from 2 to 3 ears)

  • 1 cup

    crumbled fresh goat cheese

  • 1/2 cup

    finely chopped fresh chives, plus more for garnish

  • 3 tablespoons

    olive oil, divided

  • 1 teaspoon

    kosher salt, divided

  • 3/4 cup

    vegetable stock or broth

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    freshly ground black pepper

  • 1/8 teaspoon

    ground cayenne pepper

  • 3 tablespoons

    unsalted butter

  • 1/2 cup

    fresh basil leaves, plus more for garnish

Instructions

  1. Make the grits: Bring 4 cups water to a simmer in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. While whisking constantly, carefully pour in 1 1/2 cups grits, then bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low. Whisk and scrape down the grits from the side of the pan. Cover and simmer, stirring often, until the grits are tender, 45 to 60 minutes. Meanwhile, cut the vegetables, aromatics, and toppings.

  2. Cut 8 ounces okra crosswise into 1/4-inch thick rounds and place in a medium bowl. Dice 1/2 medium yellow onion. Mince 4 garlic cloves, peel and mince a 1-inch piece ginger until you have 1 teaspoon, and place both in a small bowl. Cut corn off the cob until you have 2 cups kernels. Crumble 1 cup fresh goat cheese. Finely chop until you have 1/2 cup fresh chives, then chop a little more for garnish. About 20 minutes before the grits are ready, arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 425°F.

  3. When the grits are ready, remove from the heat. Add 1/2 cup heavy cream, 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, and a big pinch of kosher salt. Stir to combine. Taste and season with more salt as needed. Cover and keep warm.

  4. Prepare the corn and okra: Drizzle the okra with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, season with 1/2 teaspoon of the kosher salt, and toss to combine. Transfer to a baking sheet and roast until lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, cook the corn.

  5. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the onion and cook until translucent, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the garlic and ginger and cook until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the corn, 3/4 cup vegetable stock, remaining 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, and 1/8 teaspoon cayenne. Bring to a simmer and cook 3 to 4 minutes.

  6. Remove the saucepan from the heat. Add the 1/2 cup chopped chives, 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, and 1/2 cup torn fresh basil leaves. Stir to combine.

  7. To serve, ladle the grits into bowls. Top with the roasted okra, corn mixture, and goat cheese. Garnish with more freshly torn basil, chives, and freshly ground black pepper.

Recipe Notes

Make ahead: The grits can be made a day ahead and refrigerated. Add 1/2 cup water or heavy cream and reheat over low heat, stirring until well combined and to the consistency of your liking.

Storage: Leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container up to 4 days.

Credit: Kathy Tran

Brittany Conerly is a self-taught cook, recipe developer, food photographer and food stylist from New Orleans, Louisiana. Having worked at highly acclaimed restaurants in New Orleans, Brittany has always had a love affair with food and believes that there is nothing like sharing a meal with those close to you. Brittany was highlighted for Taste of the South, Taste 50 list for 2019 and has photographed at James Beard nominated restaurants and chefs.  Residing in Dallas, Brittany spends her free time shopping at the farmers market, tending to her patio garden and hosting dinner parties with friends and family. You can find her work at brittanyconerlyphotography.com, and on Instagram at @beyondthebayouphoto.