Sunday, February 8, 2009

Creamy Southern Garlic Cheese Grits

A favorite breakfast staple of grits are taken a step up with the addition of garlic and cheese, making them the perfect bed for shrimp and grits, grillades or eggs in purgatory.
A favorite breakfast staple of grits are taken a step up with the addition of garlic and cheese, making them the perfect bed for shrimp and grits, grillades or eggs in purgatory.

Creamy Southern Garlic Cheese Grits

Grits, plain with just butter, salt and lots of pepper are a delicious Southern staple. They are made from hominy or plain corn that has been finely ground to the consistency of sand, and are typically served as a side dish with eggs and toast at breakfast, but often show up at other meals too. I love grits, but I truly love garlic cheese grits. I mean these make my eyes roll back they are so good - creamy, cheesy and loaded with garlic. And, if you're lucky you'll have some left to make fried grit cakes too, because they are over the top, I'm tellin' ya!

Many of us make a baked version of cheese grits around the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays and there was quite a lot of lamenting over the loss of the tube of Kraft processed garlic cheese product that got discontinued a couple of seasons back. If you miss that tube of garlic cheese, I highly recommend that you try this version of garlic cheese grits. It's not at all difficult and produces a wonderful creamy, garlicky, cheesy bowl of warm and comforting grits I think you'll love. Course now, I have heard a rumor that they still do make the same cheese product that used to be in the rolls, it's just only available in a can now, though no worries since you can make your own at home.

Of course you can adjust the garlic to your own taste - I love garlic so I use about 6 small toes of garlic for mine and that's just perfect for me. Of course if you don't want to walk around with garlic breath, or you just don't like garlic at all, you can certainly eliminate it altogether and just add a bit of butter into your grits when you add the cheese. Don't eliminate the cream though - I really think that's the key to the creaminess. Well, that and the stirrin'. Unfortunately too many people overcook them, or don't keep stirring them and end up with an unattractive, yucky, clumpy, lumpy mess. Yuck.

These, are perfect for breakfast or brunch, but they also work excellent as a side dish and especially under beef grillades, shrimp and grits and eggs in purgatory.

Here's how to make these creamy, cheesy grits.

First get 4 cups of water on the stove to boil. Mince 6 small cloves of fresh garlic.

Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a small skillet.

Add the garlic to the butter and cook just until softened. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Bring a pot of 4 cups of water up to where it is almost, but not quite, boiling, then stir in 1/2 cup of cream.

Add the grits to the water slowly, constantly stirring them in.

When the grits start bubbling, turn them to a low simmer and continue cooking and stirring...

Cooking and stirring. Kind of like you would with a risotto...

...until grits become creamy and thick, about 5 minutes.

Add the entire contents of the skillet, garlic and butter, and stir it in. If you're making some eggs to go with your grits, this is great time to wash out the skillet and get your eggs going.

Add the shredded cheese, keeping the grits on low.

Stir it in.

Until cheese is melted.

And fully incorporated.

Taste and adjust seasonings, if needed.

Serve. Eat. Enjoy!

Recipe: Creamy Southern Garlic Cheese Grits

©From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish
Prep time: 5 min |Cook time: 5 min | Yield: About 4 to 6 servings

  • 4 cups of water
  • 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter
  • 6 small cloves of garlic, minced well, or to taste
  • 1/2 cup of heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup of uncooked quick grits
  • 2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese
  • Additional salt and pepper, as needed
  • Hot sauce, optional

Put the water on to boil. Melt the butter in a small skillet. Finely mince the garlic and add it to the melted butter, cooking just until tender. Remove and set aside.

Just as the water is about to boil, turn down to medium and stir in the cream. Add the salt, and then slowly add in the grits, stirring constantly the entire time you are adding them in. When the grits begin to bubble, turn heat down to a medium low simmer, and continue cooking, stirring often, until mixture is thickened and creamy, about 5 minutes.

Add the garlic and butter from the skillet and stir in the cheese. This is a good time to wash out the skillet and start your eggs! Cook the grits only long enough for the cheese to melt. Taste and adjust seasoning. Serve with a couple dashes of hot sauce if desired.

Cook's Notes: For basic grits, prepare as above, omitting the garlic and cheese. For stone ground grits, prepare as above, except increase cooking time to about 15 to 20 minutes. For creamier grits, slowly stir in the grits to the boiling water/cream mixture, a little at a time - don't dump them in all at once. Then while they are cooking, continue to stir them often the entire time they are cooking, until creamy and thickened. If grits are kept holding and thicken too much, add additional cream and beat to loosen.

For the Slow Cooker: Substitute stone ground grits. Add everything to a 3-1/2 to 4 quart slow cooker, cover and cook on low for 8 hours, or until thick and creamy.

Grit Cakes: Immediately pour leftovers into a loaf pan. Refrigerate leftovers, then slice and cut into wedges, dip in flour and fry. Serve as a side or use for shrimp and grits or grillades and grits.

Tomato Cheese Grits: Roast or skillet saute in olive oil, 1 large or 4 Roma tomatoes. Pulse in a food processor. Add to water with the cream with a small pinch of sugar.

Andouille Cheese Grits: Saute 1/2 pound of diced andouille sausage in 1 tablespoon of butter for 3 minutes; drain and set aside. Stir in with the cheese.

Summer Corn Grits: Grill three ears of corn until charred, cut from cob and stir kernels into grits when they are almost finished cooking. May also remove raw kernels from corn and skillet saute in 1/2 tablespoon of butter or bacon drippings. For a Zea Rotisserie and Grill Louisiana-style grits, omit cheese and use chicken broth in place of water.

City Grits: Prepare grits as above, except substitute smoked Gouda cheese for the cheddar. Garnish bowls with chopped fresh tomato, chopped cooked bacon and sliced green onion.

Variations: Stir in cooked and well drained collard greens, or fresh baby spinach leaves. Try using different cheeses. Some to consider include all Cheddar, Gouda, smoked Gouda or other smoky cheeses, Asiago, Parmesan, Monterey Jack, or Pepper Jack. Can also combine with an ounce or two of cream cheese cubed to replace part of the shredded cheese. Substitute roasted garlic.


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©Deep South Dish
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Posted by on February 8, 2009

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