Grits are a delightful side for breakfast, or may accompany most main courses in place of potatoes or rice.

Basic Boiled Grits
Recipe type: Grains
Serves: 4
  • 1 Cup stone-ground grits; * see note
  • 4 Cups water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt; or to taste
  • 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  1. * Note: Most grits in the grocery store are called "quick." The corn is ground very fine and then quickly steamed. Quick grits cook in much less time than coarsely ground traditional grits, and they definitely come in handy.
  2. Basically the proportion of liquid to dry grits is the same (4 to 1) no matter how the grits are milled. Only the cooking time varies, and the manufacturer's directions should be followed up to a point. All instant and quick-cooking grits are improved with a longer, gentler cooking than the directions indicate. Or at the end of cooking, you can just cover the pot and let the grits swell over very low heat for 5 minutes.
  3. Pour the grits into a large bowl and cover with cold water. Skim off the chaff as it floats to the surface. Stir the grits about and skim again until all the chaff has been removed. Drain the grits in a sieve. Bring 4 cups of water to a boil in a medium-size saucepan. Add the salt and slowly stir in the grits. Cook at a simmer, stirring frequently, until the grits are done -- they should be quite thick and creamy -- about 40 minutes.
  4. Remove the grits from the heat and stir in the butter.
This recipe provides grits for 4 servings.

Comments: Real Old South flavor and texture are found only in old fashioned stone-ground grits. Authentic grits are coarse in texture and require thorough cooking. Because the oily germ of the kernel is preserved under the cool grind of the stone, these grits must be consumed very soon after purchase or they will turn rancid.

Luckily you can hold these grits in the freezer for up to six months.

Old recipes always direct you to first "wash" the grits. Even today most modern stone-ground grits need rinsing to separate the last remains of the hull or chaff from the kernel. Simply cover the grits with cold water. The meal will sink to the bottom, and the chaff will float to the surface where it can be skimmed off with a kitchen strainer.

Recipe Source: GOOD OLD GRITS COOKBOOK by Bill Neal and David Perry

Publisher's Note: Southerners love their grits, and rigthfully so. None would ever pay more than a few dollars for a plate of them. But in the North, particularly in the bigger cities, grits are eaten too. At $30 a plate, and called Polenta.

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