As fall is clearly upon us, my food preferences have turned from the fresh, crisp flavors of summer to the homey, cozy flavors of fall. Basically—I don’t want a stupid salad. I want stew. Or mashed potatoes. Or best of all, in my humble opinion, grits.
Basic cheese grits provide a basis for coming up with your own innovative grits recipes. I’ll start there, and then give you two other options that step it up a little.
All of these recipes are easy, cheap, and yummy and make a whole mess of grits. The best new is—they are even better on day 2 or day 3.
Basic Cheese Grits
These basic grits are great for breakfast, lunch or dinner, and pair with anything from a steak to grilled chicken to sausage.
· 2 cups chicken broth (or vegetable stock, if you’re not the meat-eatin’ kind—this is true for all three recipes. If you’re a vegan, you’re on your own.)
· 2 cups milk (I use 2%, but skim or whole would probably work okay too)
· 1 tsp. + 1 tsp. salt—(kosher if possible—it’s sooooo much better than Morton’s from the can, but not much more expensive)
· 1 cup quick grits—yellow or white, whatever is your preference.
· 1 and ½ cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
· 1 tsp. black pepper—try to use a grinder, it makes a big difference
Step 1: Combine the chicken broth, milk, and 1 tsp. of the salt in a medium/large sauce pan and bring to a bubble. BE CAREFUL, because the milk can boil over very quickly if you’re not watching it.
Step 2: Add the grits slowly while stirring with a whisk (or just with a fork if you don’t have one), to avoid the dreaded lumps.
Step 3: Turn down the heat to low and cover for five minutes.
Step 4: Add the cheese, pepper and the other tsp. of salt, and stir to combine.
Step 5: Let it sit uncovered on low heat for a few minutes to thicken up a bit.
Step 6: Eat and enjoy!
Baked Chipotle Grits
This is just a ramped-up version of the basic cheese grits. I love to make these spicy grits to go with Mike’s famous brisket, but they go well with a variety of other dishes.
· Four chipotle chilis in adobo, chopped.
· 1 small can of green chilis.
· ½ an onion, chopped and sautéed in olive oil until translucent.
· Extra ½ cup of sharp cheddar cheese
Perform steps 1-4 of the basic cheese grits recipe.
Step 5: Preheat over to 350 degrees
Step 6: Add the “extra ingredients” to the grits
Step 7: Pour the grits into a small, lightly greased baking dish
Step 8: Sprinkle the extra cheddar on top
Step 8: Bake for about 45 minutes, until lightly browned on top and firm.
Step 9: Eat and enjoy!
Robin’s Famous Drunken Grits
Okay, they may not be famous yet with anyone but Mike and I, but they are definitely a favorite in our household. A little fancier, and possibly a bit schmancier than most grits recipes, they are as suitable for a formal dinner party as they are a backyard BBQ. I’m going to give you the entire recipe here, because it’s a smidge different than the other two. It’s totally worth the couple of extra steps, though.
· 1 tbs. olive oil
· 2 garlic cloves, minced (Or use that pre-minced stuff from the grocery store. I buy the jumbo tub of that stuff a few times a year, because it lasts forever. Sure, maybe it’s not quite as good as the fresh stuff, but it’s a lot easier, and your hands don’t smell like butt when you’re done using it)
· 2 cups chicken broth
· 1 and ½ cups milk
· 1 tsp. salt
· Either one tbs. fresh chopped or ½ a tablespoon dried thyme
· Either ½ tbs. fresh chopped or 1 tsp. dried rosemary
· 1 cup quick grits
· 1 and ½ cups shredded white cheddar cheese
· ¾ cup shredded parmesan cheese (Do not use the freaky powdered kind from the can. Get an actual block of fresh parmesan and shred it, please. It’s for your own good.)
· 1 tsp. white pepper (if you don’t want to buy it, black works too)
· ¾ cup of chardonnay
Step 1: Heat 1 tbs. olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat.
Step 3: Add the garlic and cook for two minutes.
Step 3: Add the milk, chicken broth, salt, thyme and rosemary to the garlic and bring to a bubble. Again, BE CAREFUL, because the milk can boil over very quickly if you’re not watching it.
Step 4: Add the grits slowly while stirring with a whisk (or just with a fork if you don’t have one), to avoid the dreaded lumps.
Step 5: Turn down the heat to low and cover for five minutes.
Step 6: Bring the burner temp back up to medium and stir in the chardonnay until the mixture is smooth.
Step 7: Add the cheese and pepper and stir to combine (depending on how salty the parmesan is, you may or may not need to add a little salt here, too).
Step 8: Turn the heat back down to low, and let the grits sit uncovered for a few minutes to thicken up a bit.
Step 9: Eat and enjoy!