I am a Southern girl at heart. If it’s fried, deviled, pickled, or made with mayonnaise I’m pretty much going to drool over it. The one Southern food I have never been a fan of however is grits. How anyone eats something with the texture of sand and the appearance of glue is beyond me. Finally after years of suffering through many servings of the nasty stuff, I have discovered three restaurants that can not only make grits edible, but make you believe that the Almighty God himself came down from heaven to cook them for you. If you get the chance, order either of these versions at some point; I guarantee you’ll be glad that you did.
Kennon House Restaurant: Shrimp & Grits
Coastal Flats: Sautéed Shrimp & Creamy Grit Cakes – Smithfield Ham, Roasted Corn, Asparagus, Peppers, Sweet Onion & Cajun Cream
Tuscarora Mill: Gulf Shrimp & Grits – Spinach, Tomatoes, Madeira, Virginia Ham, and Country Grits
Not always having the opportunity to dine out when I feel a Southern comfort food craving coming on, I decided to combine bits and pieces of all the above dishes to come up with a recipe of my own. I came to realize that grits really require three things to make them edible, what I like to call the “Holy Southern Trinity”; butter, cream, and cheese. So, if you’re on a diet, I’d recommend you not even attempt to eat grits. Just stick to plain old steamed rice as a side instead, because grits need a lot of butter, cream, and cheese to transform them into something palatable; there’s just no way to make them taste good without adding an extreme amount of fat. They also taste best when smothered in bacon, ham, shrimp, or country ham; no big surprise there, pork can make anything taste better.
I can’t wait to make these for my family for either Christmas Eve dinner or Christmas breakfast this year; they are those weird people who eat plain grits and enjoy it. I’m hoping that after they’ve tried my version, they’ll come to realize just what they’ve been missing. Served up beside a Honey Baked Ham, these creamy little beauties are going to be a perfect way to say Merry Christmas to my loved ones!
- 1 Cup Heavy Whipping Cream
- 1 1/2 Cups Unsalted Chicken Stock
- 1/2 Teaspoon Kosher Salt
- 1/4 Teaspoon Freshly Ground Black Pepper
- 1 Tablespoon Unsalted Butter (Extra for Buttering Baking Dish & Sautéing Grit Cakes)
- 1/2 Cup Old Fashioned Grits (Not Instant Grits)
- 1/2 Teaspoon Freeze-Dried Parsley
- 1/4 Teaspoon Cajun Seasoning
- 1 Cup Grated Seriously Sharp Cheddar
- Butter an 8×8 glass baking dish; set aside.
- In a medium saucepan, over high heat, bring cream, stock, salt, pepper, and butter to a boil.
- Stir grits into the pan, lower the heat to medium-low, and cover.
- Cook for 14 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Stir in parsley and Cajun seasoning.
- Add cheddar, and stir constantly for 2 minutes.
- Pour mixture into baking dish, making sure to level it out with a spatula.
- Put baking dish in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours to set.
- Cut grits into 4 squares, and then cut each square into 2 triangles.
- Heat unsalted butter in a skillet on medium-high heat.
- Sauté grit cakes for 4 minutes on each side.
- Serve grit cakes with shrimp, ham, or bacon over the top.
- When sautéing the grit cakes, place a glass lid over them to assure that they are heated all the way through.
- You want the grit cakes to have a medium brown color on them; the crispy outside will give a great texture.
- Serve grit cakes over spinach that has been sautéed in garlic, olive oil, and butter.
- Smother in a cream sauce made with whiskey, heavy whipping cream, Cajun seasoning, and freshly chopped chives.
- If you really want to cook like a Southerner, fry the grit cakes in bacon grease or lard, instead of butter.
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