Hot and hearty cheese grits. Photo courtesy
It’s so cold in the Northeast today, we’re warming up with a bowl of steaming cheese grits.
If you’re not from the South, you might not totally “get” grits, a thick, creamy porridge. They can be bland in their traditional recipe, with salt and a pat of butter on top. (You can use sweet toppings instead: sugar, honey, maple syrup, jam, etc.)
We like our grits in the classic savory preparation, seasoned with salt and pepper and garnished butter and/or cream for added texture and flavor (when we’re not on a cholesterol guilt trip).
Cheese is a magical enhancer to grits; and Cheddar, Jack or Parmesan is an even yummier replacement for the butter and cream. This recipe is courtesy of Tillamook, one of the country’s best Cheddar producers. You can go heavier or lighter on the cheese, as you prefer.
CHEESE GRITS RECIPE
4 cups (32 ounces) whole milk
4 cups (32 ounces) water
2 cups (12 ounces) grits (stone ground with lots of husk—the best are Anson Mills organic heritage grits)
¾-1 cup (3-4 ounces) sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded
3-4 slices (3-4 ounces) sharp Cheddar cheese, broken into chunks
¼ pound (1 stick) unsalted butter
2 tablespoons salt
1 tablespoon fresh-ground black pepper
Chives to garnish
1. COMBINE milk and water in a large pan and bring liquid to a boil. Whisk in grits, making sure that they don’t clump.
2. TURN HEAT DOWN to a simmer and stir constantly with a whisk. Continue to stirring with frequently and cook for approximately 45 minutes, until a porridge-like consistency is achieved.
3. ADD shredded cheese to the grits when they are still a semi-liquid like consistency—they should still be creamy, but acting like they want to grab the ladle. When they stick to the ladle they are fully cooked.
4. ADD the butter, salt, and pepper right after the cheese. Adjust accordingly with more milk if needed.
5. POUR grits into oven-safe serving bowls. Add a few piece of sliced cheese chunks (or more if you’d like) to the top of each bowl and put under the broiler for about 30 seconds or until cheese is melty. Having the cheese in chunks assists with uniformity and melting the cheese in the grits.
6. GARNISH with chives and serve immediately.
TOO MUCH COOKING FOR YOU?
Make instant grits in the microwave and add 1 table of grated Parmesan cheese per serving.
MORE ABOUT GRITS…
…and another cheese grits recipe.