Creamy, Simple Grits
Great grits require love.
A basic understanding of the cooking method is important, but with simple dishes, it’s also helpful to mentally jump into the pot, so to speak, especially near the end when consistency and flavor are key. That extra bit of love and attention can turn good grits into great grits.
- A drizzle of buttermilk stirred into the finished dish gives it a delightful boost without being too acidic — lemon juice can obliterate its inherent corniness.
- Don’t underestimate the flavor power of a pat of butter placed on top when serving — sometimes it’s the perfect lift.
- Don’t be overzealous with the salt at the beginning – liquid cooks out, salt doesn’t.
- When the grits are done, I like to cover the pot and let them rest a few minutes. Of course, the consistency and heat will need to be readjusted, but it can make a difference in the texture of the grains.
Creamy, Simple Grits
makes 3 cups
1 cup stone ground grits
3-1/2 cups water, plus more to float the chaff
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup unsalted butter, divided
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
Pinch freshly ground white pepper, to taste
1 Tablespoon buttermilk, or more to taste
If using white stoneground grits, place them in large bowl or cup, fill with water and stir. Let mixture settle; scoop or pour off the chaff (coarse bits floating at the top). Repeat the process. If using yellow stoneground grits, omit this procedure — the texture between the two are different.
Place 3-1/2 cups water, milk, half the butter & salt in a medium, heavy-bottomed pot over high heat; bring to a boil. Whisk in cornmeal and bring to a boil, whisking continuously. Reduce heat to medium-low and stir with a wooden spoon. Continue to simmer, stirring more frequently as mixture thickens, until grits are thick, creamy & grains are softened but still textured, about 40 minutes to an hour. Stir in remaining butter and season to taste with salt, pepper and buttermilk. Remove from heat, cover and let rest a few minutes — at this point, you may have to add a little heat & water to return grits to the desired temperature & consistency. Serve hot with additional pat of butter on the top, if desired.