Friday, April 15, 2011

Cheese Grits

Grits are misunderstood in many parts of the country, but the South has nailed this one. Much like Bubba with shrimp, a true Southerner can name many a method for grit preparation, all of which bring a smile to the face and saliva to the tongue. I, however, have never considered myself a true Southerner, so I won't pretend to be an expert. Here's what I do know: Cheese grits are stuff of Heaven, and if they're prepared correctly, they can turn an "eh" meal into something worth writing home about... or blogging. This recipe is courtesy of my sweet friend Elizabeth, and she wasn't lying when she told me these were the best cheese grits in the world.

Cheese Grits

4 cups water
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. salt
1 cup quick grits (Make sure these aren't instant - will say 5-min. on package)
2 (12 oz.) packages Stouffer's corn souffle, thawed
2 cups Mexican cheese blend
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
4 tbsp. butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine water, garlic powder, and salt in a pot.
Bring to a boil, and whisk in grits.
Reduce heat to medium, and cook (covered) until thick.
Remove pot from heat, and whisk in corn souffle, cheese, cayenne pepper, and butter.

Spread in 9x13 pan and bake 30 minutes.

My friend Rebecca made these with me, and she got to experience my prep work obsession firsthand. "Rebecca, this is what keeps you from forgetting ingredients, blah, blah, blah." Anyway, water is measured into an Easy Read Measuring Cup, and garlic powder and salt are in a Pinch Bowl. Then I've got grits waiting in a Measuring Cup with cayenne pepper hanging out in a Measuring Spoon. All of this, of course, is on the Cutting Board so I can attempt to keep my work surface clean. Key word: attempt.

I had to be shown what corn souffle looked like, so I'm going to do you the same courtesy. This is also a picture of anticipation, everyone. I'm about to have a Rectangular Baker full of cheese grits in my kitchen. Life is good.

Rebecca is a genius when it comes to stirring grits. She's got them in the 8-Qt. Executive Stockpot, and she's stirring with the Silicone Whisk to keep from scratching the coating. (P.S. about the Executive coating - This isn't Teflon.) Warning: Grits pop, so keep them covered, and watch out when you remove the lid to stir.

Cayenne pepper delivers kick! Now it feels like everything's coming together. After adding the "remaining ingredients," give the pot a good stir to make sure no grits are left uncheesed. To avoid such tragedy, I'm using the Classic Scraper to get every nook and cranny along the pot's bottom.

Yes, this is really a Rectangular Baker full of cheese grits. Against our better judgement, Rebecca and I each limited ourselves to one serving. Now my fridge is full of leftovers, but there are worse things.

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