Native Americans first invented grits. It was the Nahuatl people of southern Mexico and Central America who came up with nixtamalization, a Nahuatl word that explains the process some grits varieties go through to achieve their noteworthy texture. Grits are derived from either white or yellow field corn, also known as maize, which is different than sweet corn in that it cannot be eaten directly from the cob.
Sometimes the field corn kernels are simply ground into tiny pieces to create grits, but these create more of a grainy pudding than the iconic bowl of grits beloved throughout the American South. To achieve this, the kernels are transformed into hominy before grinding.
Hominy is also created through nixtamalization, which is a process of soaking the corn in a lye solution to remove the tough germ and hull of the corn to leave behind nothing but the smooth inner kernel. The removal of the hull causes the kernels to puff up to sometimes twice their normal size. The hominy is then dried before it is ground up for grits, resulting in a creamy texture once they are cooked.
The size of grits, and therefore the coarseness of their texture, depends upon how finely they are ground. A good rule of thumb when cooking grits is to use four cups liquid per one cup grits. Since they have a tendency to gum up while cooking, stirring them frequently while slowly simmering for around 30 minutes will result in a creamy bowl of grits no one will be able to resist.
This is a classic grits recipe because sometimes there’s nothing better on a chilly morning or rainy afternoon than a comforting bowl of grits with a soft pad of golden butter melting in the center of it. A sprinkle of sea salt in the middle will add a crunchy finish and a dash of cinnamon sugar will ensure all of your sleepyheads gather around the table for a bowl. Get the recipe.
Both vegetarians and nonvegetarians will love this meat-free recipe comprised of mushrooms that are gently sauteed in olive oil and vegetable broth to coax out their flavor. The onions are slowly caramelized to add another layer of temptation while the grits are flavored with a handful of salty Parmesan cheese. Get the recipe.
Cheddar cheese is not skimped upon in this beautiful grits recipe that includes a compelling story to match the tastiness of a cheesy grits pie that’s given a bit of kick with the addition of cayenne pepper. A generous amount of butter and a smattering of briny sea salt doesn’t hurt either. Get the recipe.
Grits might be a traditional southern dish but that doesn’t mean they don’t make perfect dancing partners for savory temptations like short ribs spiked with cocoa and the enticing blend of Chinese five spice. And just when you think this dish can’t get any more tempting, sesame is added to the bed of pillowy grits to ratchet up the flavor even more. Get the recipe.
Shrimp and grits are like the Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire of the culinary world. It’s an iconic pairing that began as a breakfast dish in the American south. Here, shrimp and bacon are married together to create a dinner feast that becomes even more tempting with a side of silky grits. The clam juice added to the shrimp is a secret ingredient that sings of the south and the ocean from which this recipe was originally inspired. Get the recipe.
Grits are transformed into dessert in this pie recipe that will become an instant favorite at your next family gathering. Grits add a nubby texture to an otherwise velvety texture and are a lovely counterpoint to the sugar and the brightness of lemon. Get the recipe.