Sunday, December 13, 2009

Garlic Cheese Grits (Gritlets)

I consider myself lucky to have grown up in the south. Now, "south" in my case means Florida. I know what you're thinking. Florida? To some known as only the land of newly wed and nearly dead, I've found that at least to the northwesterners, Floridians equal Key Westers. Total misperception. To me, Florida is its own little pangea made up of the following: Deep South (north FL and some panhandle areas), Tourist Trap (central FL, Disney, etc.), and Latin pangea (basically all of south FL). I'm most familiar w/ Tourist Trap and Deep South. We are bordering Alabama and Georgia, right? It's the deep south.

One of my absolute favorite things I brought w/ me to the great Northwest is grits. Most people native to the NW don’t even know what grits are. It’s just corn, people. And eating grits doesn’t turn you into some country bumpkin, I promise. Would it make people feel better if I called it polenta..or hominy? Same thing. Stone-milled corny deliciousness. Here’s a variation one of my friend Carrie's (a.k.a. The Dame) favorite grits recipes that's now one of my favorites:

Garlic Cheese Grits

2 c. chicken stock
2 c. water
1 c. uncooked quick grits
2 eggs, beaten
4 tbsp. butter
1.5 c. grated sharp cheddar, more for sprinkling if desired
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tsp Tony Chachere's Cajun Salt
2 tsp kosher salt
1 c. green onions, chopped

The Dame's recipe calls for a whole stick of butter and uses a mix of Monterey Jack & cheddar, if you want to keep it totally traditional. I figured 1/2 a stick would scare you NW friends enough but if you're feeling like those arteries are looking a little too clean, go for it. The green onions are also not part of the original. I thought something green would help people feel like maybe these weren't completely carbs, right?

Preheat oven 350 °F. Grease or spray an oven safe casserole dish and set aside. Bring water, broth, cajun salt and salt to boil. Whisk in grits stirring constantly for a minute. Reduce heat to low. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally until grits are thick and creamy.

Temper eggs with 1/2 c of the hot cooked grits, whisk vigorously to avoid cooking eggs. Add egg/grits mix back into remaining grits and stir until incorporated. Combine butter, cheese, garlic (and green onions if you're using them) into mixture and stir until cheese is mostly melted.

Traditionally, I make this in a 9" square casserole pan and bake for 45 minutes until golden & bubbly. I've been in a total mini mood lately and decided to put my new mini muffin tins to use.

Even if you have the non-stick kind like me, you need to use some cooking spray or else they'll stick. I know, yes, you did already put half a stick of butter in there but trust me, you need it. Or whatever, if you're adventurous then don't use the cooking spray - let me know what happens.

I use my handy mini ice cream scoop to make these guys all even sized. And as if these needed anymore heart stopping goodness, I sprinkled w/ some more cheddar on top. Don't mind the overly long strands of cheddar in the pictures, that's just how my food processor rolls. Yours will look better.
Mini muffin tin route takes about 25 minutes at 350 degrees. Cool for 10 minutes and serve. Great as portion control for those of you worried about all the cheese and butter. Also ideal for parties, this stuff tastes just dandy at room temp ya'll.


  1. I am so honored to be mentioned in your culinary exploits. I attempted to make these for Christmas morning bites however they stuck to the bottom of the pan. Thoughts? The gritlets were still delicous, not a one was left!

  2. First, let me thank you for your comment. They are like little gifts from heaven. Second, did you spray the pan w/ non stick cooking spray? I attempted one without cooking spray just for fun and it did NOT want to release itself from that 'non-stick' pan.

  3. My family loves these and my daughter has requested them again as part of our Christmas Eve spread. I have had a good time changing up the cheeses and even topping them with bacon. Delish!