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  • The Chopping Blog

Dressed Up Grits

Alex H.
Posted by Alex H. on May 29, 2018

 

I am a big fan of grits. Growing up, my dad would make them at least a couple of times a week with bacon and eggs. Today, I keep them in the pantry at all times as an easy and versatile ingredient to use when I don’t know what to make for breakfast or dinner. They cook quickly, can be served as a porridge or baked into cakes, and are a great canvas for a variety of sauces and proteins. 

grits-1

For those who are new to grits, all you really need to know is that they are coarsely ground corn kernels from white corn added to boiling water or milk (or a combination of the two) and left to simmer until tender and creamy. You could get super geeky about the differences between American grits and Italian polenta, however if instant grits are your only option at the grocery store, I recommend going with polenta. Instant grits are finely milled and pre-cooked, so you do not have a very flavorful ingredient to work with. 

This past week, I decided to dress up my grits in a more classically French way: a rich, creamy pan sauce with chicken and mirepoix. Mirepoix is the classical French combination of carrots, celery, and onion used as the foundation of sauces and soups. These vegetables are typically cooked low and slow until very tender, rather than caramelized or browned. For my mirepoix, I used the traditional onion, celery, and carrot combination. I also added some bell pepper as a nod to the Cajun version of mirepoix, or, the trinity (onion, celery, bell pepper). 

This dish is a great way to practice your knife skills. If you have difficulty dicing your vegetables, try one of The Chopping Block’s Knife Skills classes. It is one of the most valuable classes for home cooks to develop good knife habits and techniques. 

For the Grits 

Tip: I find that following the water-to-grit ratio on the packaging generally leads to a thicker consistency than I prefer, so reserve some water for the end in case you want to thin out your grits. 

1. When bringing your water to a boil, be sure to salt the water generously. Like pasta, if you do not season from the beginning, you will get bland grits! 

2. Once boiling, add your grits to the water while whisking. Whisking is very important as grits tend to clump if simply added and left to sit. 

3. Add 1-2 tablespoons of butter, some Cajun seasoning, and lower to a simmer. Cover for 15 minutes. 

gritsseasoning

4. Taste test your grits for seasoning and doneness. Feel free to add salt, water, or butter to taste. 

I hope this gets you started on your way to getting creative with dressing up grits! 

 

 

Topics: grits

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