Smoked Gouda Stone Ground GritsFriday, July 25, 2014
It's been awhile since I posted a simple side dish here - I usually incorporate them into my posts as part of the full meal. Because grits are so versatile, I thought this one was best as a separate recipe! There's nothing complicated about making grits and yet most of us have had terrible experiences with lumpy, flavorless bowls of grits served at diners or packets of instant grits for breakfast. Don't let that discourage you from this recipe. These are not the same thing. Slow cooked grits are thick, creamy and silky - one of the ultimate comfort foods. A proper bowl of grits is sinful really, which is why it isn't a regular thing in my diet. I love grits for breakfast with a fried egg on top, or for dinner with blackened catfish. My favorite way though is Shrimp & Grits - truly one of the best dishes the south has to offer.
- I don't add sugar to my grits! I believe grits are best as a savory dish. When I want something sweet, I prefer Cream of Wheat or oatmeal. I mention this because there's a hilarious ongoing debate in my Twitter circle about this (which I'm sure mirrors the debate among grits-eaters everywhere.) Literally, at least a couple times a month we will argue over the "right" way to prepare grits. I figured I'd state my opinion here once and for all. No sugar in my grits, thank you very much.
- Grits and Italian polenta are technically not the same thing according to what I often read, although there are varying explanations. At any rate, they are both made from stone ground cornmeal. I usually find polenta to be a little creamier than grits, but to be honest there is so much variation between brands and how things get labeled that it really all depends on what you buy and how you cook it. For what it's worth, as long as what you have is "stone ground cornmeal" and not an instant product, grits and polenta are interchangeable in this recipe.
- I really dislike the negative connotation behind grits as nothing more than "slave food." For one thing, many of the amazing soul food dishes we cherish today derived from food that black slaves in the south learned to prepare from less than desirable ingredients. Today the sky is the limit, so grits can be as down home as you like or part of an upscale restaurant dish. If President Obama still enjoys grits, you aren't too good for them either!
1 1/2 c. low sodium chicken stock
1 1/2 c. whole milk
1 tsp kosher salt, plus additional to taste
1 tsp chopped fresh thyme
Cracked black pepper, to taste
4 tbsp butter
1 c. shredded smoked Gouda cheese
1/2 c. water, if needed
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 30 to 45 minutes
Equipment Suggested: Medium pot