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Slow-Cooking Stone-Ground Grits

Slow-Cooking Stone-Ground Grits

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Stone-ground grits are ground in a stone mill and are much larger than quick- cooking grits. Let them cook all night and wake up to rich, creamy grits.

Ingredients

  • 1 Cup stone-ground grits
  • 3 1/2 Cups water, plus more for rinsing the grits
  • 1 Cup milk
  • 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 Teaspoons salt

Servings4

Calories Per Serving232

Folate equivalent (total)106µg26%


How to Make Grits for an Epic Taste of the Southern Comfort Food

Get your grits fix! Here, we&rsquore dishing about how to cook grits on the stove, in a slow cooker, and even baked in an oven. Start with this complete guide to cooking grits, then dress them up with saucy shrimp, poached eggs, bacon, or barbecue chicken.

Southerners have long turned to cooking grits to serve on the breakfast table and as a dinner side, and they welcome this dish in all its simplicity and affordability. How to cook grits to creamy perfection is a tradition passed down from generation to generation in many families. Grits are traditionally made from hominy, which is corn with the hull and germ removed and ground to fine, medium, or coarse grains. While hominy is Native American in origin, the word “grits” is thought to derive from the Old English word “grytt,” which means coarse meal. Grits can actually be made with any coarsely ground meal, including corn, oats, or rice. If you’re curious how to make grits that will make any soul food chef proud, you actually have several solid options. You can serve grits soft-cooked, as a cereal or side dish, or chill the mixture until it sets up, then slice and fry it. Or bake quick-cooking grits into a cheesy casserole.

Before we dive into how to make grits at home, it’s helpful to keep in mind that when cooking grits, they have a very mild corn flavor and taste best with a little salt. They are often served with milk or cream (or butter, of course, because everything&aposs better with it!).

If you&aposre not a purist, stove-top, quick-cooking grits, and slow cooker grits can be customized with a variety of flavor-boosters including:

  • Sweet grits: After cooking grits, feel free to top them like you would oatmeal. A little brown sugar, dried fruit, shredded apple, maple syrup, honey, milk, cinnamon, and/or other sweet breakfast stir-ins work wonderfully.
  • Cheesy grits: Any kind of cheese can dress up grits. Stir in shredded cheddar, Monterey Jack, pepper cheese, provolone, or Swiss, or add feta or goat cheese crumbles. For the best texture, shred cheese from a block yourself instead of purchasing it preshredded.
  • Savory grits: Replace some of the cooking water with broth if you like (consider reducing the salt) and stir in a spoonful of herb pesto or add canned diced chile peppers, minced jalapeño pepper, chopped roasted red peppers, snipped fresh herbs, or snipped dried tomatoes.

Weisenberger Mill's Real Grits

Way before I started liking grits on their own (no cheese? no garlic??), one of our sons, then in high school, reported he liked the grits at a local all-night pancake restaurant. Having grown up in a place with much less southern flavor than Lexington has -- though my home place is farther south geographically -- I did not join in Grit Appreciation until I ate a taste-changing shrimp and grits appetizer at Magnolia's in Charleston, South Carolina several years later. I learned from that one four-ounce serving that grits can be chewy, corn-flavored, and creamy, instead of tasteless, bland, and gluey. I came back to Kentucky and read about slow cooking stone ground grits until they became creamy. I ordered stone ground white corn grits from Alabama and South Carolina and cooked and stirred to no avail. The exotic stone ground grits turned out tasteless and just as unappealing as ever.

Enter wonderful Holly Hill Inn, playing its valued role of pointing out the food wonders right under our noses (or tastebuds). In this case Holly Hill's visionary chef Ouita Michel got my attention by featuring stone ground grits almost from next door. Weisenberger Mill, on the South Elkhorn in Scott County, minutes from the heart of Lexington (and from Holly Hill Inn), launched in its present location 143 years ago and continues as a family operation. Members of the sixth generation of Weisenbergers now produce grits and many other grain products at the mill

Weisenberger sells white stone ground grits online (and yellow, in two pound and 25 pound bags) and at stores in central Kentucky, including Good Foods Market, if you still need some last minute ingredients for your Christmas dinner.

If you want to make your stone ground grits plain but chewy/creamy-textured, try the slow cooker method, an idea that is new to me, though apparently not all that new to True Gritters. Gourmet Magazine offered this stovetop recipe for creamy grits earlier this year.

If you want flavors beyond subtle corniness in your grits, here's an excellent recipe for a classic cheese grits casserole using yellow corn grits. Or dial the heat and the flavor profile even higher with mild green chilis and a small jalapeño.

Grits aren't just for southerners anymore. Chicago has had a grits infusion, and I'm not referring to politics here.

In 2004, hungry displaced southerners used Chowhound as a way to exchange information about places to get good grits in Manhattan, which led to a 2006 piece on the increasingly famous Kenny Shopsin that touts his garlic cheese grits. (I agree with the authors: Calvin Trillin's piece on Shopsin, from The New Yorker in April, 2002, is one of my favorite pieces of food journalism. No one makes food writing seem as fun as Calvin Trillin.) Kenny Shopsin's aversion to publicity apparently is lifting. In September, 2008, Knopf published Eat Me: The Food and Philosophy of Kenny Shopsin, with an introduction by Calvin Trillin. Maybe you still have a Hanukkah wish list going? Or perhaps a gift card to a local or online bookstore will be in your Christmas stocking.


Crock Pot Grits Adding grits to the slow cooker will produce delicious, creamy, and tender grits perfect to add cheese and butter too. This is a no fuss recipe that is truly the easiest- easier than instant pot grits, Ninja Foodi grits, stove top – truly dump them and just wait! Crockpot GritsCook in just four hours : Add stone ground grits, salt, melted butter and water to slow cooker. Place lid on top and set on HIGH for 4 hours, stirring occasionally. Overnight Grits Cook in 8 hours: This doesn’t necessarily work for you if you go to bed super early. Add all ingredients in slow cooker on LOW for 8 hours. If making grits ahead and you go to bed at 10 pm, slow cooked grits will be ready at 6 am. If grits go into cooker at 11, these buttery southern grits will be ready at 7 am to make morning easier. Creamy Southern Stone-Ground Grits

I don’t know of many recipes that are as southern as grits. Grits are a true Southern classic that I grew up eating for breakfast just about every weekend! They also made their way to the dinner table in the form of savory cheese grits cooked in milk and chicken broth served with fried fish. Sooooo good!

Have you ever had grits before? It seems that folks either love or hate them. If you hate them then chances are you just haven’t had them fixed right. And by fixed right, I mean simmered in milk with plenty of butter, salt, and pepper! Grits served plain and boiled in water is just downright disgusting!

Bless your heart if that’s the way you were introduced to them.

Grits are on the same comfort level as mashed potatoes and macaroni and cheese in my book. They just have a way of making things seem good with the world.

What Are Stone-Ground Grits?

Now some Southerners will gasp at the thought of 5-minute or instant grits because they feel stone ground grits are the only true way to fix grits. Meh, I can get down with the 5-minute grits if they’re made a certain way, but I can’t deal with the instant packet grits. I’ve tried.

I have to admit though, stone-ground grits sure hold a special place in my heart. They get ridiculously creamy and just have a certain spirit about them.

Stone-ground grits are made from corn just like any other grits, only a much coarser ground. It’s done the old-fashioned way, using the entire kernel. Anytime I can get my hands on some hand-milled stone-ground grits I go for it. Every bag of stone-ground grits are different, which I think just adds to the charm. I’ve had some bags that take much longer to cook and some that cooked really quick. Some that had a strong corn taste and some that were very mild.

The grits you see in grocery stores are usually quick or instant grits. I go to the Farmers Market for my stone-ground grits because I can never seem to find them anywhere else. Sometimes Earth Fare will have them.

Sure, stone-ground grits take a bit longer to prepare (anywhere from 20-60 minutes, depending on the kind) but they are the creamiest grits ever. You may find it hard to go back to instant grits after that first, creamy, buttery spoonful.

Today I’m going to show you how to make a really good (and simple) pot of Southern stone-ground grits. I’m keeping this recipe super simple and classic! No fancy spices just butter, salt & pepper!

When making grits, whether quick or stone ground, forget what you read on the back of the package (most of the time). I never prepare them this way. Follow along with the steps below and you’ll have a pot of truly, authentic and delicious Southern grits.

Here are a few tips that will give you the best Southern stone-ground grits ever!

How to Make The BEST Southern Stone-Ground Grits

1. Remove the chaff. Cover the grits in water first, stir them around and remove the chaff that floats to the top. Not unless you don’t mind those hard, crunchy bits in your grits. Use a mesh strainer or just pour off the water and repeat until no more hulls float to the top.
2. Whisk. Whisk. Whisk. Whisking the grits into the boiling milk/water prevents them from getting clumpy. The last thing you want are those infamous grit balls! Smooth and creamy is the goal. You’ll also want to make sure that you are whisking it often during the cooking time as well. It’s totally ok to get OCD here! Grits loved to be whisked.
4. Add butter, salt, and pepper. This is MANDATORY! Grits are kinda bland in their natural state. Butter, salt, and pepper wakes them up and bring out that wonderful light corn flavor.
5. Don’t cook them in just water. I know a lot of people do this because they like for the full corn flavor to shine through. Boo. To me, milk just adds more flavor. I mean have you ever had corn on the cob boiled in milk?? THE BOMB! Grits simmered in milk is no different. Milk adds so much creaminess and depth. I will NEVER go back to cooking my grits in just water not unless I absolutely have too. I always simmer mine in half n half, milk, heavy cream, or broth. Sometimes a combination!
6. DON’T ADD SUGAR. Did you hear me? I mean it! Yes, that is me being bossy, kinda mean and overly opinionated but grits with sugar is actually a sin. Did you know that? It might even be an unforgivable one. Yes, I’m lying but it should be! If you want sweet, make some cream of wheat or oatmeal for crying out loud! *Oh dear… I’m becoming like those old Southern women who are always trying to tell people the right way to eat. Please forgive me!*
7. Do serve grits with side dishes. Grits eaten alone with no side dishes is just …..sad looking and you’ll probably feel a bit sad eating it that way. Give it friends like scrambled/fried eggs, bacon/sausage, buttermilk biscuits/jelly toast, hashbrowns/fried skillet potatoes, and country fried apples/fresh melons. Yep, now that’s a Southern-style breakfast fix for the King/Queen that you are! And don’t forget the orange juice. Homemade if possible but Simply has never let me down.


The grind of your grits impacts cooking time

Which grits you ultimately choose may depend on how much time you want to spend in the kitchen. Stone-ground grits take longer to cook. Your pot of buttery old-fashioned grits can take anywhere from 30 to 60 minutes, according to Real Simple. That's a whole lot of whisking. Stone-ground grits require near-constant stirring – which helps release the corn's starches – for a silky, lump-free texture. Of course, you can always cook them in a slow cooker or even your oven if you want the full earthy corn flavor without the extra work.

The finer the grits are ground, the more quickly they will cook. Accordingly, the medium grind of regular grits shaves off time spent on the stovetop. Southern Living says that regular grits are ready in ten minutes. Though they may take as long as 15 to 20 minutes, according to Mama Gourmand. These quicker-cooking grits are a good go-to for weeknight or breakfast recipes when you're crunched for time.

For authentic Southern-style grits, stick to stone-ground. The Kitchn gleaned a pro tip from Southern chef Sean Brock: soak your old-fashioned grits overnight. This trick will not only decrease your cooking time but also help your grits achieve that much sought-after melt-in-your-mouth texture.


Simple Stone-Ground Coarse Grits

This recipe works well with any mill's coarse grits, but please note the following:

  • Cooking times vary because of coarseness of grind and corn variety.
  • People have varying tastes in regards to how done they like their grits (I like mine completely soft).
  • When the grits are the softness and texture you like, there is no need to continue cooking them. Butter and maybe salt them and eat!
  • One-half cup of water or stock can be exchanged for approximately a half cup of heavy cream, milk, etc., added in thirds during cooking.
  • Makes around 3 cups. Can be halved, doubled or tripled easily.
  • Time: Up to an Hour. Yes, an hour. Please don't stir the grits every minute of that hour.

I ngredient s

  • 1 Cup of Stone Ground Grits
  • 3 Cups of water or stock and/or milk, cream,etc. (keep some extra for later, hot liquid works best)
  • 1 tsp. salt

Equipment

  • Heavy-bottomed pot
  • Whisk or wooden spoon
  • Tea Strainer

Directions

  • Combine 1 cup of grits with 3 cups of water, stock, or a combination in a pot.
  • On high heat, stir the mixture a minute or so with a wooden spoon or whisk. Reduce heat to a simmer.
  • Using a fine tea strainer, strain any floating particles off of the top while slightly tilting the cooking pot. Take care not to scoop up the grits in the bottom of the pot! Add 1 tsp. of salt per dry cup of grits (adjusted to personal taste).
  • Return to high heat, continue stirring. Once the grits boil, reduce heat to low and stir every few minutes, taking care to scrape the bottom of the pot. Don't rush and burn the grits on the bottom!
  • Cook grits at a low-medium temp until they soften. If grits “firm up” before they soften, slowly add some water or stock or milk. Keeping a pot of hot water or stock simmering on the stove is very helpful. Hot liquid is best but not essential if you are using milk or cream.
  • Finish with salt, butter, and liberal amounts of cheese if desired (and whatever else you like in your grits--the list is practically endless!).

Stop Reading This Now! Seriously. Read a book, give a friend a call. Or if you crave information go to a credible news source and read that on your phone.


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

Grits

    • 8 cups stock or water
    • 2 tbsp kosher salt
    • 2 cups Stone Ground grits
    • 1 cup cheddar cheese shredded
    • 8 oz creamed corn

    Start by spraying the slow cooker basin with oil.

    Next, add the grits, milk (or milk substitute), salt, and butter (or vegan butter).

    Add the lid, and cook for 6-8 hours on low.

    I like to stir mine occasionally to keep the grits from sticking to the edge of the pot, but if you’re not home (or are asleep), stirring really isn’t necessary.

    When the grits are done cooking, they’ll be creamy and thick.

    At this point, add cheese (or vegan cheese) if you want to.

    Add a little more milk, and add more seasoning to taste.

    Enjoy these grits while they’re still hot, and make sure to tell your slow cooker “thanks!”

    Also, make sure to rinse out your slow cooker so that you don’t end up with a mess to clean up later. The horror.


    7 Savory Ways to Eat Grits for Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner

    If you’ve only been eating grits for breakfast, you’ve been making a mistake (and if you’ve been flavoring them with maple syrup or brown sugar, well…you do you, but plenty of people believe sweet grits are inferior).

    Grits (which are made from ground, dried corn and similar to polenta) are incredibly versatile and make a great base for all sorts of sauces, meats, seafood, and poached eggs. They take beautifully to cheese, butter, and herbs if you want to get a little fancy, and are great with hot sauce. They’re also easy to reheat try searing them in small cake form in a bit of butter for a great take on leftovers.

    One word of caution: Don’t use instant grits (too fine and mushy) quick grits are acceptable and still have some texture, but if you have more time to stir, regular stone-ground grits are even better.

    Palmetto Farms Stone Ground Grits, $10.97 on Amazon

    Yes, they take a little longer to cook, but the texture and taste are well worth it.

    Here are 7 of our favorite grits recipes to eat all week.

    1. Classic Grits

    This is your basic grits recipe, with butter, milk, cream, water, salt, and pepper. You can top them with almost anything you can think of, from braised beef to griddled sausage and runny eggs, or serve them as a side for fried chicken or fish. Get our Classic Grits recipe.

    2. Fast Hammy Grits

    These creamy cheese-enriched grits are topped with crisped cubes of salty ham, sharp scallions, and hot sauce for good measure. Get our Fast Hammy Grits recipe.

    3. Baked Cheese Grits

    This crowd-pleasing grits casserole is still creamy, but a bit firmer than the usual porridge-style dish. They’re mixed with milk, hot sauce, eggs, and plenty of sharp cheddar before being baked for 45 minutes (which gives you time to get the rest of dinner finished). They go with lots of things, from crisp bacon at brunch to baby back ribs at a BBQ. Get our Baked Cheese Grits recipe.

    4. Jack Cheese and Grits Souffle

    This soufflé is so easy you’ll be kicking yourself for not trying it sooner. With shredded dry Jack cheese (substitute aged cheddar, gouda, or manchego for a similar sharp, nutty flavor if need be), and a ton of chopped scallions, these are fantastic party food, but easy enough to whip up on any weeknight. We particularly like them with a pot roast, but paired with a green salad they’re a great light meal. Get our Jack Cheese and Grits Souffle recipe.

    5. Shrimp and Grits with Tasso Ham

    Shrimp and grits are one of our favorite southern dishes, so get ready for a few different versions. This one from Maxie’s Supper Club (which, full disclosure, is in New York), uses spicy Tasso ham, curry powder, cumin, and cayenne, and several other unexpected ingredients for an original and tongue-tingling take on grits that you haven’t tried before. Top it off with andouille sausage for even more meaty kick. Get our Shrimp and Grits recipe.

    Tasso Ham, $14.99 at D'artagnan

    Get a taste of zesty Cajun-style smoked ham made from humanely raised pork.

    6. Shrimp and Fresh Corn Grits

    While fresh corn is still summer-sweet, make this delicious dish that combines traditional grits with juicy kernels and tender ale-spiked shrimp. While most grits are made creamy with plenty of dairy, this recipe uses the juice from the fresh corn to thicken and enrich the mixture. If you leave out the shrimp and the little bit of prosciutto that’s there for extra flavor, it’s actually vegan. Get our Shrimp and Fresh Corn Grits recipe.

    7. Spicy Shrimp and White Cheddar Grits

    If you’re just looking for a simple shrimp and grits recipe, this is the one. Sharp white cheddar adds savor to the grits and the shrimp swim in a spicy sauce on top with briefly warmed fresh tomatoes for sweetly acidic bursts of flavor. Oh, and crisp bacon too. Get our Spicy Shrimp and White Cheddar Grits recipe.

    The original version of this post was written by Caitlin M. O’Shaughnessy in 2015. It has been updated by Jen Wheeler with new images, links, and text.