So many of you know that I’ve lived in Louisiana for 9 years, but I’m not from here. I’m a Utah girl, who ate cream of wheat and oatmeal for breakfast and while I had heard of grits (kind of like cream of wheat, made with corn instead of wheat), I kind of thought they didn’t actually exist, that people didn’t actually eat them.
People eat them.
Everywhere you go for breakfast in the south, there are grits. Sure as they’re going to ask you if you want grape jelly with your breakfast sandwich, grits will be on the menu. There are grits at McDonalds. Also, they’re not very good. If you’ve never had grits, don’t try them for the first time at McDonald’s.
So, just like any other pantry staple, a) everyone has their way of making grits, b) everyone thinks their way is the best/only way of making them, and c) grits can be terrible and boring and they can also be amazing. Amazing.
Sometimes I feel like because I’m not from here, I don’t have any right to share these kinds of recipes, but I also feel like once I tried the good news of Melanie Stephenson’s cheese grits at the PTO breakfast last week, it would be irresponsible of me not to share them. So. If you’re from the South and you feel like I shouldn’t be sharing recipes for grits because I haven’t always been a lifelong believer, I’m sorry. But I can’t not share them. Can we still be friends?
You’re going to need water, half and half (you know things are heading in the right direction when half and half shows up), kosher salt, freshly ground pepper, quick cooking grits (if you’ve never bought grits, check the cereal aisle near the oatmeal. If you really can’t find them where you are at, which happens, try Amazon), extra sharp cheddar (mild cheeses will get lost here), butter, bacon pieces (you can make your own or buy pre-cooked bacon, just make sure it’s real bacon and not, like, bacon bits a la 1986), and, if you’d like, finely chopped green onions.
In a large saucepan (like, the largest pot that came with your cookware set), combine the water and half and half. Can we talk about this unexpected magical picture that happened when I added the cream to the water?
I thought it was so cool I made it black and white…
Anyway. Add your cream to your water. Be artsy. Then add some salt
and freshly ground pepper and bring it just to a boil (if you boil it like a boss, the cream will curdle). Whisking constantly, add the grits. Be careful because it might splatter, especially near the beginning.
Reduce the heat to low and cook for 10 minutes, whisking frequently, until the mixture is thick and smooth. While the grits are cooking, grate your extra-sharp cheddar…
cube the butter…
and, if you’d like, chop 1/2 cup green onions. Chop them smaller than I’ve chopped them here, especially the firm white ends.
Remove from heat and add cheese. Stir gently until cheese melts and is combined. Add cubed butter and stir until smooth and shiny. Add bacon 1/4 cup finely chopped green onions (if desired) and stir until combined. If you’d like, you can garnish with remaining green onions, a little shredded cheese, and a pinch of bacon pieces. Serve immediately.
- 6 cups water
- 1 pint (2 cups) half and half
- 2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more if necessary
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 2 cups quick cooking grits
- 1 cup extra sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
- 4 tablespoons salted butter, cubed
- 1 cup real bacon pieces (you can cook your own or use precooked bacon pieces, just make sure you're getting real bacon)
- 1/2 cup green onions, finely chopped, divided (optional)
- In a large saucepan (like, the largest pot that came with your cookware set), combine the water, half and half, salt, and pepper. Bring just to a boil (and stir occasionally to prevent the cream from scorching
- Slowly pour the grits into the boiling mixture while whisking continuously--it may splatter, so be careful. Reduce heat to low and cook 10 minutes, whisking very frequently (especially in the beginning).
- Remove from heat and add cheese. Stir gently until cheese melts and is combined. Add cubed butter and stir until smooth and shiny. Add bacon and 1/4 cup finely chopped green onions (if desired) and stir until combined. Serve immediately.