The Southern Staple
Grits are the basis for so many southern recipes. From a basic breakfast cereal to fried grits, and of course shrimp and grits; this is the quintessential southern staple.
Quick grits are considered a crime in the south. As well they should, because the real thing is so much better. Polenta too, is not the same thing as true grits. Polenta is made from corn that is much coarser than grits. To get an authentic flavor you need to use stone ground grits. Grist mills used to be abundant in the south. But most modern mills use steel rollers instead of stone to grind the corn. This is a recipe for real grits, and I think you will find it more flavorful, and easier to use in other dishes.
Origins of Grits
Grits were first introduced to Europeans by Native Americans during the 16th century. Originally called “rock ahomine”, grits are now the official state food of South Carolina. In The United States, seventy-five percent of all grits are sold in an area called the “grits belt”. This section of the country stretches from Texas to Virginia.
The Southern Grits Recipe
This is such a simple dish to prepare, and it will stay fresh in the refrigerator for a week. You can make this with just water, but substituting some cream or half-and-half will make it much more creamy and rich. Cooking it slowly, and stirring often is the key here. This allows the grits to absorb all of the liquid, and keeps it from sticking, scorching or lumping in the pan.
While consistency is a personal choice, this is a simple, yet elegantly refined product. Try serving this hot with some butter and a drizzle of honey. Your kids will love it! You can also season it simply with salt and cream. Add cheese and you have a whole different ballgame!
Use your imagination, and the possibilities become endless. When asked what American food he wished was more plentiful in England, Gordon Ramsey replied, “grits”! Stay tuned for more grits recipes from Southern Feast.
- 2 1/2 Cups Water
- 1 1/2 Cups Half-and-Half
- 1 Teaspoon Salt
- 4 Tablespoons Butter, Divided
- 1 Cup Stone Ground Grits
- 1/2 Teaspoon Freshly Ground Black Pepper
- Add water, the half-and-half, salt and 2 tablespoons of the butter to a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat.
- Gradually whisk in the grits, and reduce the heat to low. Cover, and cook twenty to thirty minutes. Stir frequently during this process as the grits can clump, scorch and stick to the bottom of the pan. If they become too thick add more water and half-and-half.
- When the grits have absorbed all of the liquid they are done. However if you prefer a thinner product, add more liquid during the last 10 minutes of the cooking process.
- Add remaining butter and pepper. Taste, and adjust salt. Serve immediately, or refrigerate for future use.