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Friday, November 02, 2018

Grits

I love grits but I know it's a regional thing. Or as we say, a "Southern thang"! I truly think that most people would love them if cooked right. If you try to eat unsalted grits, they are very bland. But salt to taste and they are a comfort food. Cornmeal is nothing more than finely ground, dried corn. Grits are usually made from dent corn. This starchy variety of corn is less sweet than sweet-corn and it becomes smooth and creamy as it cooks. This type of corn is treated with lime to remove the hull which technically makes it hominy. After the treated corn is dried, it is coarsely ground to become hominy grits. Most grits are ground more coarsely than cornmeal. Stone ground grits are whole grain grits that retain the germ. The stone ground grits take 45 minutes to cook fully, but they have more health benefits. Instant grits will cook up in about 5 to 10 minutes. Polenta is similar to grits except that it is made with flint corn. Native to Italy, polenta is made by coarsely grinding up dried flint corn. This variety of corn has a hard starch in the center, which gives polenta its characteristic grainy texture.

2 cups water
1 1/4 cups milk
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup quick-cooking grits, not instant (I use Quaker)
1/4 cup butter

Directions:
1. In a small pot, bring water, milk, and salt to a boil.
2. Slowly stir grits into boiling mixture.
3. Stir continuously and thoroughly until grits are well mixed.
4. Let them boil. Then cover pot with a lid, lower the temperature, and cook for approximately 20 minutes stirring frequently.
5. Add more water if necessary.
6. Grits are done when they have the consistency of stiff cream of wheat.
7. Stir in butter.
8. Serve with additional butter on top of each portion and add salt to taste.

You can use white or yellow grits. They get their color from the type of corn that is milled, some say there is a negligible difference in taste, with the yellow grits being sweeter and having a slightly more assertive corn flavor.


By adding milk, it makes them creamier. You can also add shredded cheese (any kind) to make cheese grits. And you can include them in recipes. I like to put some cooked grits in a mug, add cheese and a raw egg (whip it). Stir and add to the microwave to cook the egg. It makes an egg and cheese grits for a satisfying breakfast. Like rice, they also make a good base.

Grits and Tomatoes

Grits (cooked)
Salt and pepper to taste
Ripe tomato

Directions
Cook grits according to package, chop fresh (very) vine ripe tomato, salt & pepper to taste, stir into grits and eat.

Stuffed Tomatoes with Grits and Ricotta

1/2 cup dry grits
1 1/2 cups water
3/4 teaspoon salt

cooking spray
1 1/3 cups ricotta cheese
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup grated Asiago cheese
2 eggs
2 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 teaspoon salt
8 tomatoes

Directions
In a small pot combine dry grits, 1 1/2 cups water, and 3/4 teaspoon of salt. Bring to a boil, then simmer until grits are tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Cool.
Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Coat a baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray.
Beat the eggs in a large bowl, then stir in the cooled grits, ricotta cheese, Parmesan cheese, and Asiago cheese. Stir in the garlic powder, parsley, crushed red pepper, and 1 teaspoon salt. Mix well.
Slice the top off of each tomato. Use a spoon to hollow out the tomatoes, leaving the outer shells (approximately 1/4 inch thick) intact. Fill each with the grits mixture. Arrange stuffed tomatoes on prepared baking sheet.
Bake in preheated oven until light golden brown, 30 to 40 minutes. Allow to cool slightly before serving.



Old Charleston Shrimp and Grits

1 cup coarsely ground grits
3 cups water
2 teaspoons salt
2 cups half-and-half

2 pounds uncooked shrimp, peeled and deveined
salt to taste
1 pinch cayenne pepper, or to taste
1 lemon, juiced
1 pound andouille sausage, cut into 1/4-inch slices
5 slices bacon
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
1 cup chopped onion
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup chicken broth
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese

Directions
Bring water, grits, and salt to a boil in a heavy saucepan with a lid. Stir in half-and-half and simmer until grits are thickened and tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Set aside and keep warm.

Sprinkle shrimp with salt and cayenne pepper; drizzle with lemon juice. Set aside in a bowl.

Place andouille sausage slices in a large skillet over medium heat; fry sausage until browned, 5 to 8 minutes. Remove skillet from heat.

Cook bacon in a large skillet over medium-high heat, turning occasionally, until evenly browned, about 10 minutes. Retain bacon drippings in skillet. Transfer bacon slices to paper towels, let cool, and crumble.

Cook and stir green, red, and yellow bell peppers, onion, and garlic in the bacon drippings until the onion is translucent, about 8 minutes.

Stir shrimp and cooked vegetables into the andouille sausage and mix to combine.

Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat; stir in flour to make a smooth paste. Turn heat to low and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture is medium brown in color, 8 to 10 minutes. Watch carefully, mixture burns easily.

Pour the butter-flour mixture into the skillet with andouille sausage, shrimp, and vegetables. Place the skillet over medium heat and pour in chicken broth, bacon and Worcestershire sauce, cooking and stirring until the sauce thickens and the shrimp become opaque and bright pink, about 8 minutes.

Just before serving, mix sharp Cheddar cheese into grits until melted and grits are creamy and light yellow. Serve shrimp mixture over cheese grits.

There are so may variations of shrimp and grits. Try different things. Instead of andouille sausage, try fried bacon. Use different cheese. Add tomatoes. Top with cilantro or chives.

Grits and Sausage Bake

6 cups water
2 cups uncooked grits
1/2 cup butter, divided
3 cups shredded Cheddar cheese, divided
1 pound ground pork sausage
12 eggs
1/2 cup milk
salt and pepper to taste

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease a large baking dish.

Bring water to a boil in a large saucepan, and stir in grits. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer about 5 minutes, until liquid has been absorbed. Mix in 1/2 the butter and 2 cups cheese until melted.

In a skillet over medium-high heat, cook the sausage until evenly browned. Drain, and mix into the grits.

Beat together the eggs and milk in a bowl, and pour into the skillet. Lightly scramble, then mix into the grits.

Pour the grits mixture into the prepared baking dish. Dot with remaining butter, and top with remaining cheese. Season with salt and pepper.

Bake 30 minutes in the preheated oven, until lightly browned.

Grits A Ya Ya

3 1/2 cups chicken stock
3/4 cup old fashioned grits
1/4 cup heavy cream, plus more as needed
1 cup shredded smoked Gouda cheese, or more to taste
1/4 cup butter
8 slices bacon, chopped
3 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon minced shallot
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 splash white wine
1 pound jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 cups chopped spinach
1 cup chopped portobello mushrooms
1/4 cup sliced green onions
2 cups heavy cream
1 dash hot pepper sauce, or to taste
salt and ground black pepper to taste

Directions
Bring the chicken stock to a boil in a saucepan over high heat.

Slowly pour the grits into the stock while stirring constantly.

Reduce heat to low; simmer until the grits are tender and thick, 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Stir in 1/4 cup heavy cream to thin the grits.

Stir in the Gouda cheese and 1/4 cup butter until melted and smooth.

While the grits are cooking, place the bacon in a large, deep skillet over medium heat; cook until the bacon fat is rendered, about 3 minutes.

Stir in the shallot and garlic; cooking and stirring until the shallots are tender, about 5 minutes.

Pour in the white wine and stir in 3 tablespoons butter, cooking and stirring until the butter has melted.

Drop the shrimp in the skillet; cook and stir until they are bright pink on the outside and the meat is no longer transparent in the center, about 3 minutes.

Stir in the spinach, mushrooms, and green onions; cook and stir until the spinach wilts, about 2 minutes more.

Remove the shrimp with a slotted spoon.

Stir in 2 cups heavy cream. Simmer until the cream is reduced by about a third, about 10 minutes.

Season with hot sauce, salt, and pepper.

Return the shrimp to the skillet to heat through.

Serve shrimp and sauce over the prepared grits.



Fried Grits

5 cups water
salt to taste
1 cup stone ground grits
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
vegetable oil

Preparation:
Bring the water and salt to a boil in a large heavy saucepan. Add the grits and continue to simmer, stirring constantly, over medium heat until the grits are cooked and thick like mush, about 15 to 20 minutes. If necessary, add a little more boiling water.
Pour the hot grits onto a large plate to make a layer about 3/4-inch deep. Cover and let stand to cool, then refrigerate to chill thoroughly.
When the grits are cold and firm, cut into rectangular pieces. Dredge the grits pieces with flour, shaking off excess flour.
Heat the oil to a depth of 1/2-inch in a heavy skillet. Fry grits pieces until golden brown on both sides, about 4 to 5 minutes total. Drain on paper towels and sprinkle with salt. Serve hot.
Serves 4. Its a great way to use leftover cold grits!

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