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.

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.

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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Check These Breakfast and Brunch Recipes Out Too Y'all!

Baked Garlic Cheese Grits with Sausage
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Posted by on February 8, 2009

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  1. Since grits don't exist here in the land Down Under, could one substitute polenta or cornmeal?

  2. Hi Jan! You know, honestly grits are so commonplace here in the southern part of America, so I have never tried this with any other type of corn product. Grits produce a real creamy consistency, so I'm not sure that polenta or cornmeal would work for the same texture, but the flavor would probably be good. If you decide to give it a try please report back and let us know!

  3. Yum, yum, yum.
    I don't think you can use cornmeal or polenta.
    Grits are made from hominy that has been soaked in lime. So I'm sure the consistancy and flavor would not be the same.

  4. I made these tonight to accompany some chicken and they were FABULOUS! I'm from the South and we never fixed grits like this, but it was so good. Thanks so much for posting the recipe. ~ Katie

  5. Katie, it means the world to me when someone takes the time to come back to tell me that they made and enjoyed a recipe from Deep South Dish! Most folks do the garlic cheese grits baked in the oven, but I prefer them this way!

  6. I love grits despite not being a native Southerner, but from being Italian, I grew up with creamy polenta which is the kissing 'yellow cornmeal' cousin of grits I fell in love with the creamiest of stone-ground cheesey grits down on the beach in SC somewhere and my love affair has never stopped. This one is getting printed and tried! Roz

  7. I'll tell you, I grew up eating grits and I never even heard of cheese grits 'til I was grown. I've still not tried them, but since your recipe seems so easy AND the garlic and cheese are added at the end, I could make up a pot and try it just one bowl to see if I like it or not without messing up the whole pot if we don't. Thank you so much.

    BTW you can use cornmeal, but it will not be grits it will be mush. Cornmeal mush was one of my days favorites. It was one of the first things I learned to cook. You just whisk the cornmeal into boiling water and keep on whisking until they are done. Not my favorite, I much more prefer grits. I mean whats not to like right?

  8. Oh My Goodness, Oh My Goodness ... this recipe is PURE south. AMAZINGLY creamy and good. I had it with Eggs in Purgatory on top and a side of artisian bread. I can't say just how good this recipe is. I DID add the bacon I used for the eggs in the grits & when I went to make it I didn't have quick grits but I did have instant, so, that's what I used. Still worked however I will be adding quick grits to my pantry. I feel like our family visited New Orleans : )

  9. So glad ya enjoyed it!! I'm a grits gal for sure, but these are super great for that eggs in purgatory recipe!

  10. I just made these for dinner and they were fantastic! I made them along with your Eggs in Purgatory recipe. I married a southern boy and he was thrilled with these grits! Thanks!

    (p.s. I think I favorited just about every recipe on this site! You're amazing!)

  11. Oh Rachel thanks so much! I'm so glad you're enjoying the site and the food. Thanks so much for taking the time to come back and leave such sweet comments too. I do appreciate that so much!

  12. Always wondered what happened to that tube of Kraft garlic cheese! Have an ancient Southern recipe for Broccoli Cheese Dip that called for it and had just given up a few years ago. Recipe sounds yummy--will make it this weekend. In Charleston and everything is about Shrimp & Grits. Also, my grandmother used to make grits for our breakfast in Texas--she called the dish Mush and added butter, sugar and sometimes warm milk...doesn't that sound yummy.

  13. Yep - you'd think as much as it was loved that Kraft would at least re-introduce it during the holidays! Charleston Shrimp & Grits are much different than our version down here. Maybe one day I will get there to experience them!

  14. Absolutely delicious! I loved these, southern but with a little extra goodness!

  15. must have missed it somewhere, but I didn't see how many servings this recipe makes? KNOW we're going to love it!

    1. It's up at the top of the recipe text, but it's always just an estimate really anyway. I do write most of my recipes for a family so generally they will feed about 4 to 6 depending on appetites, number of adults/children, and how it's being served. Hope that helps!

  16. Can you make these ahead and then either reheat in crock pot or start in put and then cook in crock pot? As you can tell, I'm not a true southerner (by birth). We have parties @ work, sometimes with breakfast items and I would love to bring these! Any suggestions.

    1. Hi Dede! I would recommend using stone ground grits for a slow cooker. Just prepare as above, transfer to slow cooker and let it go on low for about 7-8 hours. Try not to stir until they've been cooking for a few hours, after that stir a few times to prevent sticking and to help them get creamy.

  17. Hi Mary, thanks for the info. I see you updated the recipe section but that says to cook on high for 8 hours and your response says low. I just want to make sure so I don't have "concrete" in my crockpot. Thanks in advance, enjoying your recipes!!!!


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