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Great grits recipes

Diana De Cicco is a food editor and writer based in New York City. She has a master's degree from New York University in Food Studies. Her passions are eating, traveling, and eating while traveling.

Comforting Creamy Grits

Grits are a southern specialty typically eaten for breakfast, but this creamy, comfort food dish can be eaten for any meal of the day. Easy to prepare and very versatile, grits can be mixed with a flavorful variety of ingredients to make a simple, filling, savory or sweet meal.

Comforting Creamy Grits

What exactly is grits?

Grits is nothing more than ground dried corn. Ground corn is also called polenta. Very finely ground corn is called cornmeal. A hotly debated topic regarding grits is whether to use real grits or instant. Most Southerners would not be caught dead using instant grits, but if real grits aren't readily available, instant grits are a convenient grab. Real grits do taste better and have a creamier texture, but instant grits tend to cook quicker.

Serving suggestions for grits

Grits are typically eaten as a breakfast food, but can also be eaten for lunch or dinner.

Savory grits: Shrimp and Grits, a very popular Southern combination is only one of many ways this comfort food dish can be eaten. Grits can be made with cream and cheese for a luscious yet simple side dish. Grits can be combined with all types of vegetables, fish, and meats for more substantial meals. Grits certainly have an affinity for shrimp but sausage and peppers, or mushrooms and any kind of cheese are also mouthwatering options. Just think of grits as a base like pasta or rice that you can combine with just about anything.

Sweet grits: Grits shine as a dessert-style dish. When combined with caramelized apples, sauteed peaches, or any fruit for that matter, grits become a delicious after-meal dessert, especially if butter and sugar or honey are part of the dish.

Great grits recipes

Sausage and Cheese Grits

Makes 4 servings

3 cups water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup instant grits
1/4 pound ground sausage
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

1. Heat water in a pot and bring to a boil. Sprinkle in salt and add grits. Bring water back to a boil over medium heat, then cover and let cook over low for 10 minutes, stirring often so the grits don't stick to the bottom of the pot.

2. Meanwhile, saute sausage in a skillet until cooked through. Stir butter and cheese into grits. Spoon grits onto a plate then spoon sausage over grits. Serve immediately.

Mozzarella, Prosciutto, and Mushroom Grits

Makes 4 servings

3 cups water
3/4 cup instant grits
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup thinly sliced mushrooms
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 teaspoon butter
Black pepper, to taste
2 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto, minced

1. Heat water to a boil in a pot. Stir in grits and salt then bring back to a boil over medium heat. Cover pot and cook over low for 10 minutes or until creamy, stirring often so the grits don't stick to the bottom of the pot.

2. Meanwhile, saute mushrooms in oil until tender. Stir mushrooms, cheese, butter, black pepper, and prosciutto into grits. Serve immediately.

Caramelized Apple Grits

Makes 4 servings

3 cups heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons granulated sugar
3/4 cup instant grits
3 Macintosh apples, peeled and diced
1 tablespoon butter
4 teaspoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger

1. Combine cream, vanilla, salt, and granulated sugar. Bring mixture to a boil and stir in grits. Cook mixture over low heat, stirring, until creamy, about 10 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, saute apples in butter for a few minutes. Sprinkle with brown sugar, cinnamon, and ginger, and continue cooking until apples are tender.

3. Spoon grits into a bowl and top with apple mixture. Serve immediately with more cream if desired.

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