Dive into Southern Deliciousness With These Unique Grits Recipes

Here in the south we have a thing called grits and I’ve been simply obsessing over them since the infamous polar vortex graced us with its presence a few weeks back. It was absolutely freezing. Actually, it was far below freezing – negative two degrees to be exact. Amidst the frigid insanity, I had a hankering for something sweet. Despite my typical love for ice cream in the cold – since it melts slower and I can enjoy it longer – I needed something warm.

As I was rummaging through the cabinets like a frantic bear preparing for hibernation, I considered waffles or pancakes just to kill that craving but both sounded like a recipe for a pile of dishes. Right about the time I made it past the waffle mix and beyond the oatmeal, I saw the light. Sitting there in the back of the cabinet, clearly ignored, was a sack of grits just waiting to be rediscovered.

It was fate. With the help of a sweet grits recipe, they became one of the most satisfying desserts I have ever enjoyed. Quick to prepare, simple to flavor, and easy to cleanup, I’m officially the world’s greatest advocate for post-dinner/midnight snack grits.

Since that life-changing day, I have had spicy shrimp and grits, savory grits and eggs, and am working on finding a delicious recipe for grits cakes. Think patties of grits fried up and served with delicious dipping sauces. Yum.

I’ve included the recipes for the sweet grits, spicy shrimp and grits, and savory grits and eggs. Hopefully these recipes will inspire you to give grits a chance. The next time you’re suffering from a polar vortex chill or just need to indulge in a reliable comfort food, whip up a pot of this extremely versatile creation and enjoy!

It’s said this dish was first served to fisherman and originally called “breakfast shrimp.” It’s so delicious, I’d probably eat it three meals a day and call it anytime shrimp if I wasn’t living in a land-locked state. I borrowed this recipe from Saveur and will certainly be using it again.

ShrimpandGritsIngredients

  • 1 cup white or yellow stone ground grits
  • 3/4 cup grated cheddar
  • 1/4 cup parmesan
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 4 slices bacon chopped
  • 1 pound of medium shrimp, peeled
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 button mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped (I used 4 cloves)
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 4 lemon wedges
  • 1/2 tsp. hot sauce (recipe calls for Tabasco is possible)
  • 4 scallions, thinly sliced

Directions

In a 2-quart saucepan, bring 4 cups water to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low and whisk in grits. Cook, whisking frequently, until grits are tender and creamy, 30–40 minutes. (Whisk in more water for thinner grits.) Whisk in cheddar, parmesan, and 1 tbsp. butter and season with salt; cover and set aside.

Heat oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium heat. Add bacon and cook, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes or until crisp. Using a slotted spoon, transfer bacon to a paper towel–lined plate; set aside. Reserve cooking fat in skillet.

Season shrimp with salt and pepper. Over medium-high heat, add shrimp to skillet and cook, turning once, until bright pink, about 2 minutes. Transfer shrimp to a plate with a slotted spoon. Lower heat to medium; add mushrooms to skillet and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook until golden, 1 minute. Raise heat to high, add chicken broth, and scrape bottom of skillet with a wooden spoon. Cook until broth reduces by half, 3 minutes. Return shrimp to skillet along with the lemon juice, remaining butter, and hot sauce and cook, stirring frequently, until sauce thickens, about 1 minute. Divide grits between 4 bowls; top each with shrimp and its sauce. Garnish each bowl with bacon, scallions, and lemon wedges.

Serves 4

These grits are traditionally served at breakfast but, as we previously discovered, they are the perfect dessert. I’m even considering topping them with a berry sauce or peaches next time the craving hits.

Bowl of sweet gritsIngredients

  • 2 ½ cups milk
  • ½ cup quick-cooking grits
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar

Add milk and brown sugar to a sauce pan and bring to a boil. Once the mixture has begun boiling, lower the heat and add the grits to the pan. Stir frequently for 8 to 10 minutes or until thickened.

Serve warm with any topping you desire

I enjoy the savory flavor of these grits tremendously. I’m particularly fond of topping the final product with sriracha for a little extra spice. This is a great base for experimentation, too. My next version will probably include jalapeños and extra sharp cheddar in lieu of the Parmesan and green onions. This particular recipe was from Relish.com

http://relish.com/recipes/runny-eggs-on-creamy-grits/

Grits BreakfastIngredients

  • 5 ½ cups water
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 ½ cups quick grits
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for frying eggs
  • 1/3 cup finely grated Parmesan
  • ¼ cup finely chopped green onions
  • 4 slices crispy, cooked bacon
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Directions


Combine water and salt in a medium saucepan. Bring mixture to a boil. Gradually whisk in grits. Reduce heat to low, cover, and cook, whisking often, until thick and creamy. Stir in two tablespoons butter, cheese, green onions, bacon, and pepper. Cook for an additional 5 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

Melt additional butter in large, nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Fry eggs until whites are set and yolks are still runny. Or, poach eggs in water for three minutes.

Spoon grits into bowls and top with egg.

Chelsea B. Sanz
Chelsea B. Sanz

Chelsea Sanz has lived in East Tennessee since her family moved here from South Florida just before she started high school. While she initially begrudged her new home state, she eventually realized she had come to not only love it, but to “bleed orange” as University of Tennessee Volunteers fans here like to say. She and her boyfriend Hunter, a trail worker for Great Smoky Mountains National Park, enjoy exploring the nation’s most visited national park and coming up with their own farm-to-table recipes.

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