Grits can be intimidating. Even my Southern friends who grew up eating them are hesitant to cook them! Truthfully grits is just polenta with a Southern accent and it isn't all that hard to make. Follow these instructions and you'll have creamy delicious grits a Southern chef would admire. Mind you we are talking about stone ground grits, not that instant or "quick grits" in a box. Never ever eat those unless you are very fond of eating wallpaper paste. In fact there is a joke that instant grits were invented to discourage tourists.
Grits and polenta are just cornmeal boiled in water and served with butter and sometimes cheese and milk. Having tried many methods, these are the two that I've found deliver the most consistently creamy grits.
My favorite method by far is the pressure cooker method. It's so fast and easy it's almost worth getting one just for the grits alone. Our Pressure Cooker Stoneground Grits Recipe is guaranteed to give you the most creamy grits ever in under 20 minutes with NO STIRRING!
In a very thick bottom dutch oven or pot (I use my enameled cast iron dutch oven for this) combine 5 cups of water for every cup of grits you are cooking. Each cup of grits will make 2 large servings.
Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat and immediatly remove from the heat. Cover with a tight lid and set aside for 15 minutes.
After 15 minutes return to the stove. Add 1 bayleaf and a teaspoon of kosher salt. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer. Simmer for 30 minutes to an hour, stirring and scraping the bottom and sides of the pot very frequently. Keep an eye on the liquid and taste frequently. If it is still too gritty for your liking but most of the water is absorbed add more and keep cooking and stirring. Once it is to the desired creamy texture discard the bay leaf, add a squeeze of lemon, salt and pepper and butter if desired. This is also the point where you can add milk or cream and cheese if you want cheesy grits. I add about a cup of grated cheddar or parmesan cheese to the hot pan with plenty of butter and a liberal dash of heavy cream.
Serve your grits immediately because they will start solidifying very quickly. If they start seizing up on you add some more liquid and warm them up a bit.
Leftover grits make great grits cakes the next day. I put them in a pyrex cake pan in the fridge overnight and then cut them into squares and fry them in a pan with butter.
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