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Whats the BEST way to make PERFECT GRITS?

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#1 OnlyTheBest

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Posted 29 September 2005 - 04:20 PM

I just got freshly milled grits and i want to make sure i do it right...whats the BEST way to do it? thanks.

#2 ChefCarey

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Posted 29 September 2005 - 04:50 PM

These are perfect grits to me. This recipe is from my book, Creole Nouvelle: Contemporary Creole Cookery.

I just got freshly milled grits and i want to make sure i do it right...whats the BEST way to do it?  thanks.

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Just what is a grit?

First, let’s take care of the word origin. The word “grits” comes from the Anglo-Saxon (Old English) word "grytt", for "bran" or “something ground.” We have been using the term "grits" to mean this particular ground corn dish since at least the 18th century.
Grits are hominy made from flint or dent corn, varieties with hard kernels that are dried on the cob then removed and soaked in a solution of baking soda, lime, or wood ash (lye.) After the kernels get soft they swell. Next, they are hulled, degermed, dried and ground. Usually grits are made from white corn although you will see some yellow grits. Masa harina, the flour used to make corn tortillas, is processed in much the same manner. I do not want to get into the science here, but this processing actually makes some of the nutrients in corn more accessible to our bodies. Stone ground grits are the more natural product and will take longer to cook since they contain the germ. Grits are a cereal, folks.
First we’ll tackle my basic cheese grits recipe and then I’ll give you a couple of other things to do with them.
Cheese Grits

Serves 8 - 10

Ingredient Quantity
Skim milk 6 cups
Salt 2 tsp.
Freshly ground white pepper 1 tsp.
Unsalted butter 4 Tbsp.
White grits 1 ¼ cups
Parmigiano Reggiano, grated ½ cup
Provolone, grated ½ cup
Sharp cheddar, grated ½ cup

Lagniappe: The above quantities are for a package that simply says “Grits” on the label (cooking time about 20 minutes.) If you are using “Quick Grits” (cooking time five minutes) you will need about 25% less liquid. If you are using “Stone Ground Grits” (cooking time 35 – 40 minutes) you will need a little more liquid. Read the package, folks.

1. Over medium heat, in a saucepan bring the milk, salt, pepper, and butter to a boil. Watch the pot! It will boil over if you space out.
2. Slowly stir in the grits.
3. Add the cheeses a little at a time. Check seasoning.
4. Serve with any breakfast or brunch dish – always with Grillades (see page 000.) Do not worry about leftovers. I have a couple of things you can do with them.

Creole Nouvelle

#3 John DePaula

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Posted 29 September 2005 - 05:02 PM

Well, I’ll just jump right in. I don’t know if this is the absolute best way to make grits, but I can tell you that I prefer it to the method printed on the box (at least I think so; it’s been a long time since I looked). They come out very creamy and delicious.

This is a very simple & quick “I-just-got-up-and-I-want-my-coffee-with-eggs-bacon-and-grits-now” method. Nothing fancy; just grits!

I use a 4:1 ratio of water to grits e.g. 1/4 c. grits to 1 c. water for one serving.

I start with fresh cold water and mix in the grits and about 1/2 tablespoon of butter or olive oil.

Set over moderate heat, stirring often, just until it begins to boil.

Now, turn your heat down to moderately low; stir occasionally, until the desired consistency is reached. No need to cover the pot. That’s about 5 minutes, I think.

Add salt and pepper to taste. Some people like to add extra butter in a nice dollop once plated.

Bon Appetit!

John DePaula
formerly of DePaula Confections
Hand-crafted artisanal chocolates & gourmet confections - …Because Pleasure Matters…
When asked “What are the secrets of good cooking? Escoffier replied, “There are three: butter, butter and butter.”

#4 OnlyTheBest

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Posted 30 September 2005 - 12:07 AM

thanks SO much... i really appreciate it.
NOW.... how about your BEST cornbread recipe !!
I have some fabulous cornmeal and i want to make sure i have the perfect recipe!

#5 Lan4Dawg

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Posted 03 October 2005 - 01:42 PM

I just got freshly milled grits and i want to make sure i do it right...whats the BEST way to do it?  thanks.

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I think there are as many ways to prepare grits as there are Southerners.

Cover the bottom of a pot over medium heat w/ just enough fat--butter or bacon/sausage grease--to cover and creep up the sides to prevent sticking. Take one part good quality ground grits (not quick grits or instant grits or any of those other abominations) and whisk (using a whisk is very important as it prevents lumps and sticking) grits in to hot fat. While continuously whisking add 1 1/2 parts chicken stock (preferably home made), 1 1/2 parts filtered water, 1 table spoon (or to taste) hot sauce, a pinch of salt & several grinds of black pepper. Continue whisking until all ingredients are blended. When the mixture just starts to boil turn down to a simmer and whisk every once in a while to prevent lumps and sticking. After about fifteen/twenty minutes check for consistency. They should be just over thick. Add 1/2 cup milk, 1/2 & 1/2, or cream depending on just how decadent you want to be. Again whisk well until blended, make certain heat is at the lowest temperature and allow the dairy to saturate and get hot (about five minutes or so). Check consistency and just before serving whisk about 1/2 cup (or to taste) grated rat trap cheese in to mixture. Add more hot sauce, S&P to taste. Remove fr/ heat, cover, and allow to sit for at least five minutes. Whisk again and serve.

Them'll make you slap your momma!

For true decadence add some chopped fried country ham to the grits when you add the cheese and serve the whole lot w/ some red eye gravy, pork brains in cream gravy blended w/ mixed up cackle berries and a couple of "cat head" biscuits to mop up what ever spills off your fork. Oh man, I think I know what I want for dinner.
in loving memory of Mr. Squirt (1998-2004)--
the best cat ever.

#6 racheld

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Posted 04 October 2005 - 11:55 PM

:wub: Be sure to cc your recipe to the "Gilding the Lily" thread. This one goes beyond gilt and into sequins. Yum.

#7 robyn

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Posted 05 October 2005 - 05:31 PM

I approach this from a slightly different point of view since I make grits and corn bread all the time at home. They're not "company fare" - just what we eat. Kind of like some people eat pizza a lot. For grits - I use Quaker quick (not instant) grits. Made according to the box recipe (takes less than 10 minutes - including the time to boil water). You can doctor them with things like cream and/or cheese if you'd like - but I like mine "straight". I have made grits from scratch (and eaten grits made from scratch at restaurants) - and - when you're whipping them up in a home kitchen to serve with eggs - or under some shrimp - it's basically a labor intensive nuisance - not worth the effort. I know there are people who will "diss" this point of view. Perhaps some day I'll invite them to a blind tasting :smile: .

Most of the difference you'll find in fancy recipes is that they add lots of fatty stuff (grease - cream - cheese - etc.) to make them taste richer. You can do this with quick grits too (although I don't recommend it on a regular basis if you're watching your waistline). But it's like coffee. If you take your coffee with lots of cream and sugar - the taste of the coffee becomes less important. Same with grits. Once you add a bunch of grease - cream - cheese - etc. to grits - I doubt that most people can taste the difference between high class from scratch and quick.

Anyway - if you find your grits endeavor not worth the effort (you decide you'll only make it once a year because it's too much work for what you get) - try the quick grits.

For cornbread - I've tried bunches of recipes - and I can't beat the cornbread mix sold at Williams Sonoma (it's not really southern - it's a bit sweet - and has a bit too much oil - to be really southern) - but it's heavenly baked in a divided cornbread/scone pan. Robyn

P.S. I make grits with water - grits - a bit of salt - and one teaspoon of butter for 4 servings.

Edited by robyn, 05 October 2005 - 05:34 PM.

#8 OnlyTheBest

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Posted 09 October 2005 - 11:40 PM

WOW... thanks again for the recipes. Unfortunately I can tell the difference between the quick stuff and the from scratch fancy high brow homade stuff. HAHA!
I just got some really good freshly ground grits and i want to do them right.
make them plain and have them with eggs..the first time.... THEN i am gonna try gettin fancy.
Thanks again for your input i am gonna be in grit heaven !

#9 BrentKulman

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Posted 10 October 2005 - 02:12 AM

I just got freshly milled grits and i want to make sure i do it right...whats the BEST way to do it?  thanks.

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For freshly milled grits, the definitive recipe for luscious creamy grits has to be Hoppin John Taylor's. Make them with heavy cream; it's a whole different thing from the usual runny grits.

Hoppin John Taylor's Creamy Grits

#10 Varmint

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Posted 11 October 2005 - 06:06 AM

It's important to know that there are basically three types of grits: instant, quick, and stone-milled. Instant grits are very smooth and despite everyone chastising them, they're not too bad in a pinch.

Most of the grits that you'll see folks talking about are your quick grits. They take anywhere from 5 to 20 minutes to cook, depending on how finely they were ground. These have a bit more flavor and texture than the instant grits and have a pretty long shelf life. They're still pretty smooth for the most part.

Real, honest to goodness, stone-milled grits are a different creature. If you look at the picture in the Hoppin John Taylor link Brent provided above, you'll see that they appear to be lumpy. Well, they're not really lumpy, but these grits are not of a single size. Some are very fine, some are bigger pieces. It also takes a lot longer to make these grits properly, up to an hour!! But in the end, as the starches are released into a liquid, you end up with a wonderful dish -- far more complex than anything you've had before. And, of course, adding dairy products is always good -- grits need salt and dairy.

Dean McCord

#11 raven23

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Posted 19 November 2005 - 07:10 PM

Stone Milled Grits.

This is a recipe that would would feed four for breakfast.

Boil 3 cups salted water.... The water must taste like there is salt in it.

Add 1 cup of stone milled grits.

Stir. The more you stir the more creamy they become, the less you stir the more they keep their form.

Some of the milled grits may take more water.

Grits like butter and a bit of fresh black pepper after they have been cooked.

Learn how to cook the properly befor you try to do other things with them.

Good Luck.

#12 scubadoo97

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Posted 28 December 2006 - 12:53 PM

My observation with quick grits (not instant) is that if you want a really creamy texture add the grits to the cold water then heat. When I've added the grits to rapidly boiling water as the package instructions suggest I never can achieve that really creamy texture without adding cheese.

#13 achevres

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Posted 04 January 2007 - 09:15 AM

Any time I make grits I make them with half water and half chicken stock or broth. The stock adds just a little extra depth of flavor which is not really discernible as chicken and which goes with butter really well.

#14 DaleJ

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Posted 04 January 2007 - 11:10 AM

I have found that as long as I use Anson Mills stone ground I am unable to screw up any variety of grits variations.

#15 NYC Mike

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Posted 04 January 2007 - 01:28 PM

I just had them for the first time last night for supper and we used chicken stock and the taste was out of this world.

When I make my breakfast on the weekends I've been adding milk happily.

-Mike & Andrea

#16 andiesenji

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Posted 04 January 2007 - 01:58 PM

Cornbread recipe, southern style

and the demo with photos. Ignore the grinding part.
Cornbread from scratch, really.
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#17 Qwerty

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Posted 06 January 2007 - 05:32 PM

When I make them, I like to use 1/2 whole milk, 1/4 chix stock, and 1/4 water...or just 1/2 milk and 1/2 weak chix stock. Don't want the grits to taste "chickeny" just get some richness from the stock.

Bring the milk and stock to a boil. Reduce heat, stir in the grits in a steady stream. Add a heavy dose of salt and pepper. Stir until thickened and creamy. Don't be shy to add more liquid. I like my grits fairly loose, and they always tighten up with the cheese at the end. I add water a lot during the cooking process, basically to keep them creamy and moist. Not "soupy," but nice and loose. Wish I could describe it better.

When the grits are cooked (and this may take a while, up to and over an hour), add the cheddar (or whatever) cheese, and then stir in an appropriate amount of COLD, cubed butter. Don't be shy. Continue to whisk to emulsify the butter (a similar technique is used when making mashed potatoes the right way). Taste, adjust seasoning, and serve piping hot.

Makes a good breakfast, or a good side dish to meats. They are really rich, but if you use nice stone ground grits they are still corny and delicious.

Good luck.

#18 jmridd

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Posted 19 March 2007 - 08:59 AM

perfect grits? haha thats impossible to pin

its depends greatly on the product you're going for; to you want a pure corn flavor, something rich, or something in between? are you pairing the grits with breakfast, shrimp, or meat?

if you want a pure grit flavor, go with a ratio of 1 cup grits to 4 cups water, and a healthy pinch of salt. bring your water to a boil, whisk in the salt, then whisk in your grits to prevent clumping. cook at least 45 minutes to an hour on a poppingly low flame. if you scorch the bottom your grits are no good. after 45+ minutes, taste for texture, salt, and spice- add more water or butter, satl, cheese, and/or tobasco/black pepper.

if you want something rich- use 2 cups milk and 2 cups water, if thining is needed, use water, and finish with butter.
using chicken stock gives the grits a very nice rounded out quality- somewhere between rich and basic.

now, if you're from the carolina low country and you're making shrimp and grits- your recipe oughtta look like this (this is attributed to a South Carolinian chef from Chez Panisse/the CIA)
wake up 6 am and get your basic grits (4w-1g) on the fire
start taking the shells off your shrimp
make a quick shrimp stock with the shells, some lemon, some vegetables and herbs
as the grits tighten up over the next 4, yes Four, hours of cooking, you'll add the shrimp stock to thin them out
around 930 or so start frying your (seasoned!) shrimp with whole butter in batches. deglaze with the stock and pour butter, fond, and stock into the grits. continue until all shrimp are cooked.
serve shrimp on top of grits, hot! for a quick breakfast

taking a note from her, if you plan on serving your grits as a base for a pork dish- use some pork stock, same of poultry and red meat.

#19 fendi_pilot

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Posted 14 April 2007 - 10:43 AM

Definitely stone ground. For the record, I have southern roots stretching back to 1700s but I have been stuck in New York for what I'm beginning to think is too long -

In my opinion, I think often people overestimate the cooking times. You don't need 4 hours for good grits. Grits are an excellent vehicle for flavors so I think cream / stock work well. I usually start off with a 2 to 1 liquid to grit ratio (1/2 water, 1/2 stock or cream) some salt, then once absorbed turn heat to low and simmer while continuing to add cream or liquid until I feel the right consistency and texture has been achieved usually 20-30 minutes. There are a lot of flavors that work well (cheese, roasted chilis, green onion etc..) and I have some secret weapons for sure but regardless I tend to add these at the end of the cooking process.