Looking for a good corn grits recipe? You’ll want to stick around for these Southern grits that are layered with richness and flavor from two types of cheese, half and half and a whole head of roasted garlic. This luscious, indulgent side dish is just as comfortable with your morning eggs as it is with a slow braise of pork or lamb and of course, some spicy, saucy shrimp. Whip up some Creamy Roasted Garlic Cheese Grits today.
You know I’m from the South, right? I grew up on all manner of Southern fare. Ham, from Smithfield. Oysters and blue crabs, from the Chesapeake Bay. Pulled pork sandwiches made by Mom or as a treat from Pierce’s Barbecue. Pork puddin’ and scrapple (from the leftover parts of the pig). And grits. Southern grits are ubiquitous from Louisiana to Virginia. They come standard with every breakfast in every diner. Like hash browns or whole wheat toast everywhere else.
My husband had never tried garlic cheese grits until he met me. He’s from Minnesota, after all. Land of 10,000 Lakes and Tater Tot Hot Dish. Happily, though, he’s a pretty adventurous eater and I knew he’d love this corn grits recipe.
Ingredients For Garlic Cheese Grits
- Stone Ground White or Yellow Corn Grits
- Head of Garlic (Roasted)
- Chicken Broth
- Half and Half
- Fresh Thyme Sprits
- Fontina Cheese
- Cheddar Cheese
- Hot Sauce
You can probably tell from the list of ingredients that these grits are no wall-flower. They’re rich, creamy and oozy. The head of roasted garlic adds a sweet, nutty flavor and two types of cheeses make this more akin to a decadent macaroni and cheese than a simple corn grits recipe.
Take It Low & Slow For The Best Corn Grits Recipe
The key to achieving that lush, smooth consistency is taking your time. You can’t rush it. Just like that scene in My Cousin Vinny, where the guy on the stand admits that he’d made a mistake on the amount of time the robbers had been inside the convenience store because he’d been making a pot of grits and they take 20 minutes to cook — because no self-respecting’ Southerner uses instant grits.
Al Dente Grits Are Not Al Dente… They’re Not Cooked
Once the grits come to a boil, reduce the heat to a bare simmer, cover and let them cook (stirring fairly regularly) for 30 to 35 minutes. The reason for the longer cooking time, is that we’re using more liquid than normal and you want it to fully absorb into the grits, so that they’re soft and smooth. FYI – grits are NEVER served al dente — anyone who tells you that’s a “thing” is a moron… I’m sorry, but it’s true.
Anyhoo, these grits are something special. Something to behold. They are the south’s version of risotto. Not thick and goopy. Not lumpy or bland. Creamy and luscious. I add a few drops of hot sauce to the pot while they’re still on the stovetop, because hot sauce has vinegar AND heat — and I think that’s a good thing when you’ve got a side dish as rich as this one.
These Southern grits pool across the plate like a flow of molten lava. It’s decadent, but hey – we don’t eat this every day. But by God, I could!
What To Serve With Southern Grits
Well, they’re not just for breakfast – although they’re fabulous with a fried egg sitting proudly atop! You can eat grits with virtually anything you would have potatoes or noodles with.
Try Garlic Cheese Grits with:
- Braised Lamb Shanks
- Spicy Shrimp
- Smoked Sausages or Kielbasa w/Sauteed Bell Peppers and Onions
- Braised Pork Shoulder
- Ham and Eggs
I’m telling you, when you’re sick of potatoes, or rice or pasta – zig when the others zag. Make some grits and don’t forget the hot sauce!
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Creamy Roasted Garlic Cheese Grits
Southern grits are a staple south of the Mason Dixon line and they're delicious. Garlic cheese grits are even better. This corn grits recipe takes a little longer than plain corn grits, to allow the additional liquids to absorb. Garnish with additional cheese and hot sauce.
- 1 cup white or yellow stone ground grits
- 4 cups low sodium chicken broth
- 1/2 cup half and half
- 5 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1 cup fontina shredded
- 1 cup cheddar shredded
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper freshly ground
- 1 head garlic
- 5-6 dashes hot sauce or to taste
- green onions
- additional cheese
- hot sauce
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut the head of garlic crosswise at the pointy end, trimming about 1/4-1/2 inch so that the interior of the cloves are exposed. Drizzle olive oil over the garlic and wrap it in aluminum foil. Bake for 40-50 minutes until soft. Let cool.
Rinse the grits with cool water, stirring to separate any loose chaff and hulls. Hold you hand on the edge of the bowl to drain the water and loose particles, but hold the grits in the bowl.
Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan bring chicken broth and thyme to a boil. Whisk in the grits and once the liquid returns to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover and stir frequently 30-35 minutes, until thick and creamy. (Be sure to scrape the bottom of the pan as the grits cook, so they don't stick.
While the grits cook, peel apart the garlic. Holding a clove of garlic from the bottom, squeeze out the roasted garlic onto a cutting board. Repeat for each clove. Chop the cloves roughly, then use the side of the knife to smear the garlic into a paste. Add the paste to the grits and whisk in until thoroughly combined.
Add half and half, fontina, cheddar, salt, pepper and hot sauce. Stir until cheese is melted. At this point, you can hold the grits covered in a pot until you're ready to eat them (they will continue to thicken as they cool). Rewarm them to serve.
If you have leftovers, save them, they will reheat beautifully in the microwave with a pat of butter.
Pin Creamy Roasted Garlic Cheese Grits” For Later!
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