Stone Ground Grits
As the state of South Carolina declared in 1976 when it named grits the official state food, “Throughout its history, the South has relished its grits, making them a symbol of its diet, its customs, its humor, and its hospitality . . . A man full of [grits] is a man of peace.”
We have wonderful recipes for grits rich in the southern and Mardis Gras traditions below. We start with the simple cooking directions and then move on to recipes that highlight the power of grits ( AKA polenta).
Start with Charleston's Favorite Stone Ground Grits - Ground at an 1845 water powered gristmill that is now the centerpiece of the Haygood Mill Historic Site and Folklife Center.
Classic Southern Grits – Pour measured amount of grits into a bowl. Cover with water and stir. Drain off excess water and the floating chaff and hulls. Add rinsed grits and salt to 3:1 ratio of boiling water. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 30-40 minutes, stirring frequently. Add additional 1 part water at this time when grits have thickened and stir for correct consistency. Add additional salt and pepper to taste.
Servings Grits Water Salt
4 ½ cup 2 cups ½ tsp
8 1 cup 4 cups 1 tsp
Charleston Creamy Grits: Follow Classic Southern Grits recipe and use ½ part soda water and ½ part cream or milk during last 10 minutes of cooking time.
Cheese Grits Cakes
These are the famous cakes from Arnaud's in New Orleans (chef Tommy DiGiovanni). From Garden and Gun Feb/Mar 2020. " Think of the grits cake kind of like a biscuit and top with whatever you want" says the Chef. He tops them with grillades and gravy, but they do well with country ham (below) red-eye gravy or chili.
- 1 quart Milk
- 3/4 cup butter, divided
- 1 cup yellow Stone ground grits
- 1 cup grated Swiss cheese
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees (F)
- Combine milk and one half cup bitter in a large dutch oven or sauce pan
- Bring to a boil over medium heat. Add grits slowly, and cook for 35 minutes - stirring constantly.
- Remove from heat, and add a little milk if the grits look too stiff. blend the grits with an immersion blender for 30 seconds, until creamy. Add swiss cheese and a pinch of salt and pepper to easte and mix well with a wooden spoon.
- Pour the mixture into a buttered half sheet pan and spread into an even layer with an offset spatula. Dot with the remaining 1/4 cup butter and sprinkle Parmesan cheese over the mixture.
- Bake for 20 minutes
- Remove from the oven , cool, and refrigerate (uncovered) for 30 minutes, and then cut into disks with a 2 1/2 inch pastry cutter. Transfer disks to a parchment paper lined sheet pan. To serve, rewarm in 200 degree oven.
Slow Cooker (Crock Pot) Stone ground Grits
Use your slow cooker to create delicious and creamy grits. They cook while you sleep and are ready for breakfast the next morning.
• 2 cups Charleston Favorites Stoneground Grits
• 6 cups boiling water
• 2 teaspoons salt or to taste
• ½ cup club soda
• ½ cup whole milk
• freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1. Lightly spray inside of a 6-quart crockpot with cooking spray.
2. Pour measured amount of grits into a bowl. Cover with water and stir. Drain off excess water and the floating chaff and hulls
3. Stir together rinsed grits, salt and hot water in the crockpot. Cover and cook on LOW for 7-8 hours.
4. Remove lid. Stir in the club soda and whole milk until the grits are an even consistency.
5. Add additional salt and pepper to taste.
The Key Recipes using Grits
Now for some recipes that put the grits to work the way they do in New Orleans and other parts of the south. First, you need to have a creole seasoning. you could buy one off the shelf, but here is a simple recipe:
- 4 teaspoons garlic powder
- 4 teaspoons onion powder
- 2 tablespoons sweet paprika powder
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 tablespoon dried thyme
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 2 teaspoons dried basil
- 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper (or less if you don't want it as hot)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Place all of the spices in a spice or coffee grinder or a blender. Pulse until you get a fine powder. Store in an airtight jar in a dark cupboard until ready to use. For optimal flavor use within 2 months.
New Orleans Grillades and Grits
For the Grillades:
- 2 lbs round steak, pounded to ¼ inch thickness and cut into 2 inch squares
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon Creole Seasoning (see Above)
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 medium yellow onions, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 large red bell pepper (about 1 cup), diced
- ½ cup celery, diced
- 2 cups tomatoes, diced or 1 (14 oz) can diced tomatoes, drained
- ⅓ cup all-purpose flour
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter or 5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 3 cups beef broth
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 3 bay leaves
- 1 tablespoon Creole seasoning (see below)
- 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
For the Grits:
- 1 cup stone-ground old-fashioned grits (not instant)
- 5 cups milk
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Combine the flour, salt and one teaspoon of Creole Seasoning in a shallow bowl. Dredge the pieces of beef in the flour, shaking off the excess and transfer to a large plate.
- Heat the oil in a stainless steel skillet over medium-high heat until hot but not smoking. Place the beef in the skillet, being careful not to overcrowd, and fry on both sides until browned. Transfer the beef to a plate.
- Saute the onions in the skillet until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and saute for another minute. Add the bell pepper and celery and saute until soft, about 5-7 minutes. Add the tomatoes and saute for another 4-5 minutes, scraping up any browned bits in the skillet. Transfer the vegetables to a bowl.
- Melt the 5 tablespoons of butter or olive in the same skillet over medium heat. Add the flour and whisk constantly until the mixture is a rich brown, about 4 minutes. Add the beef broth and red wine vinegar, whisking continually until the mixture is smooth and thickened.
- Return the vegetables to the skillet and add the Creole Seasoning and bay leaves. Return the beef to the skillet and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 1½ hours or until the meat is very tender, stirring occasionally.
- Stir in the parsley and simmer for another 5 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Remove the bay leaves.
- Serve the grillades and gravy ladled over hot grits (see below).
- For the Grits:
- In a 5-quart pot over medium-high heat, bring the milk and salt to a simmer, stirring regularly to prevent the milk from burning.
- Slowly add the grits in a steady stream, whisking constantly to prevent lumps. Add the salt. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally until the grits are thick and tender.
CREOLE SHRIMP AND GRITS
- 2 lb Royal Red Shrimp ( already peeled and deveined )
- 2 tsp Creole seasoning (see Above)
- 2 tsp smoked paprika
- 2 tsp black pepper
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 4 tbsp butter
- 10 garlic cloves minced
- 3 cups halved grape tomatoes
- 2 tsp celery salt
- 1 cup sliced green onions
- 1/2 cup dry white wine or chicken stock
- 8 oz. corn kernels
- 2 tbsp cornstarch
- 4 tbsp water
- parsley to garnish chopped
- 8 cups stock or water
- 2 tbsp kosher salt
- 2 cups Stone Ground grits
- 1 cup cheddar cheese shredded
- 8 oz creamed corn
Add 2 cups grits to 8 cups heavily salted chicken stock or water and bring to a boil. Reduce to low and simmer for 30 minutes. Stir occasionally so as not to stick. Remove from heat and add the cheese and creamed corn. Stir to mix thoroughly and cover. Set aside.
Combine shrimp, Creole seasoning, paprika, and pepper in a bowl and mix to coat. Heat a large skillet over medium-high. Add oil and butter and cook until butter melts. Add garlic and cook 1 minute. Add shrimp and cook, without stirring, 1 minute. Add tomatoes, celery salt and green onions. Cook, stirring occasionally, 3 minutes. Deglaze pan with wine; cook, stirring and scraping pan to loosen browned bits, 30 seconds. Add corn kernels and stir.
Remove shrimp from pan and set aside. Mix the cornstarch and water and add to pan. Stir over medium heat until thickened. Add Shrimp back to the pan, stirring to coat.
Spoon shrimp mixture over creamed corn, cheese grits. Sprinkle with parsley and serve.
Creamy Polenta with Fricassee of Truffled Mushrooms
I have made this recipe from the Food Network using wild mushrooms and truffles from our To-Table offerings. WOW!! Our favorite - seriously!
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 2 cups mik
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 3 ounces Stone ground grits, (about 2/3 cup)
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons freshly grated grana padano or Parmigiano Reggiano
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh chives, optional
Fricasee of truffled mushrooms
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 medium shallots, thinly sliced
- 8 ounces mixed domestic and wild mushrooms, sliced or cut into naturally occurring pieces (about 2 cups)
- Crushed red pepper
- 1/2 cup homemade chicken reduction, recipe follows, or purchased chicken reduction, diluted with water until a little thicker than chicken stock
- 1 tablespoon snipped fresh chives
- 1 teaspoon truffles
Chicken Reduction (See Simplicity Note below):
- About 6 pounds chicken bones
- 3 to 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 stalks celery, coarsely chopped
- 1 carrot, coarsely chopped
- 1 clove garlic, coarsely chopped
- 1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
- 2 cups dry white wine
- 4 whole canned tomatoes (about 4 ounces), coarsely chopped
- 4 sprigs fresh rosemary, bruised with the dull side of a chef's knife
Fricassee of Truffled Mushrooms:
For the creamy polenta (grits): In a heavy-based saucepan, combine the cream and milk and heat over medium-high heat just until small bubbles begin to appear on the surface. Add the salt, and whisk the cream and milk until quite frothy. (I don't have a scientific explanation as to why this whisking step is important; but I know from experience that when I don't do it, my polenta just doesn't seem as delicious as usual. Since this initial whisk is easy and takes practically no time, I recommend you do it, too.)
Add the polenta and continue to whisk the mixture as it comes to a boil. Continue whisking for an additional 3 minutes. Reduce the heat to very low, cover the pan, and cook the polenta, stirring every 5 minutes or so (switch to a wooden spoon), until the grits are completely cooked and quite tender, 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 hours. It may seem very thin initially, but it will gradually thicken. As the polenta cooks, a skin will form on the bottom and sides of pan (if you are not using a nonstick pan), which is proper and which gives the polenta a slightly toasty flavor.
For the fricassee of truffled mushrooms: In a large saute pan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the shallots and cook, stirring, until the shallots just begin to color on their edges. Add the mushrooms and crushed red pepper to taste and cook until the liquid is released. Add the chicken reduction, bring to a boil, reduce to a bubbling simmer and cook until the liquid is reduced by half. (You can prepare the mushrooms ahead up to this point; reheat them over medium-high heat just before serving.)
Just before serving, stir in the butter, grana padano or Parmigiano-Reggiano and chives if using. The polenta should pour from the spoon as you serve it and will thicken as it cools. If necessary, you can thin the polenta with a little milk just before serving. Divide the polenta among heated bowls or plates.
Just before serving, reheat the mushrooms if necessary. Toss the mushrooms with the chives and truffles. Spoon some mushrooms and some of the cooking juices over each serving of polenta.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Rinse the chicken bones and pat them dry. Spread them out in single layer with a little room between the bones on one large or a couple smaller sheet pans. Roast until they are golden brown, flipping and turning the bones every 15 minutes or so, about 1 hour.
In a large stockpot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the celery, carrots, garlic and onions, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are well browned, about 20 minutes. Add the wine, tomatoes and bones to the stockpot. Add enough water to cover everything by about 2 inches (about 6 quarts). Cook over medium heat (you want a gentle simmer, not a boil) until the chicken is falling off of the bone and the stock has a full flavor, about 1 1/2 hours.
Remove the chicken and strain the broth several times through a fine strainer. If you want to make and use the reduction right away, spoon off any visible fat floating on top of the stock. Otherwise, chill the stock until the fat solidifies on top and then scrape off and discard most of it.
(Simplicity Note: The most difficult part and time consuming part of this recipe is the chicken reduction. Yet this reduction is key to the flavor. Much time and steps can be saved without significant loss in flavor by substituting a mixture of store bought chicken stock and chicken bone broth for the chicken bones and water. Skip the roasting the bones program and reduce the cook time in the simmer from 1/12 hours to 45 minutes. Everything else stays the same.)
Pour the defatted stock into a saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat, and then reduce the heat slightly so the stock is not boiling so furiously. As the stock simmers, some of it will remain on the sides of the saucepan; use a spoon or ladle to pour some of the stock over this to deglaze it. (This will further increase the intensity of the flavor.) Continue simmering until the stock has darkened and reduced to about 1 quart. The time this will take will vary, but it will likely take at least 20 to 30 minutes. Use right away, refrigerate for up to three days or freeze. Makes about 1 quart.
Recipe courtesy of Scott Conant