I absolutely love grits. I don’t know how old I was the first time I had them, but I was young enough for their deliciousness to be engrained in my mind forever. My parents and both sets of grandparents made them almost every weekend, and often loaded them up with cheese. So as far as I’m concerned, cheese grits are the only way to go.
Before we go any further, don’t get me started on sugar in grits. Grits aren’t supposed to be sweet. If you want sweet, have oatmeal. Or porridge or muesli or something. Grits are meant to be savory and cheesy.
Okay I’m done. Moving on…
Whenever I make or eat grits, I always think of one particular morning when I was five or six years old. We’d recently moved to our first house in Atlanta and I’d become friends with a couple girls down the street, whose family had recently moved to the area from Michigan (I think). One weekend, the two girls spent the night, and my dad made grits and scrambled eggs for breakfast. I, of course, gobbled my bowl of cheesy goodness right up, but my friends weren’t entirely sure what they were eating. I like to think that my family and I were the first to introduce our new friends to grits.
I’m convinced that anyone who says they don’t like grits, just hasn’t had good grits yet. It’s really easy to mess grits up. Good grits require a lot of salt and pepper. Like, almost more salt than should be normal. If you think you’ve put too much salt in your grits, then you’ve put the right amount in.
But what makes grits truly delicious is cheese. My mom never makes grits without a heaping helping of cheese. And as such, I’m hardly capable of eating grits made any other way.
Now that the weather is cooling off (well, hopefully it is in other parts of the country; Tennessee is still in the 80s), I’ll be making cheese grits much more often. They’re just so comforting when the seasons change. My dad always said grits “stick to your ribs”—meaning they’ll warm you from the core and keep you full. I can’t say I disagree.
Here’s my recipe for simply delicious cheese grits.
This makes 2 servings of grits, and the recipe can be easily doubled for more.
- 1/2 cup grits
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 cup milk (up to 1 cup if needed)
- 4 oz. grated cheese of your choice
- 1 tbsp butter
- Salt, pepper and paprika to taste (I like lots of pepper)
I said earlier that grits need salt, but remember that most cheeses are salty. Balance the salt with cheese as needed! A little tip: paprika is a great addition, too. Sometimes I add a dash or two for an extra smoky-type flavor.
As far as cheeses go, I like white cheddar, gouda and pepper jack (not necessarily together). Use whatever cheese or mix of cheeses you’d like!
To make them:
- Add water to a saucepan and begin to heat over medium heat.
- Once water begins to lightly boil, add the grits. When they start to thicken, slowly add the milk.
- Cook grits until smooth and not lumpy, but you can still see the grit grains. They shouldn’t feel “grainy” when tasted.
- Add cheese, salt and pepper and stir until combined.
- Add more milk if needed to reach desired consistency.
- Serve immediately. Top with more cheese, crumbled bacon, parsley and/or chives.
What’s your favorite warm breakfast food? Are you a “sugar” or “salt” in your grits person?