Down-Home Country Grits
Source of Recipe
From "A Real Southern Cook in Her Savannah Kitchen" by Dora Charles
"You dare not serve anyone in the South breakfast without some well-cooked grits. Now that grits are on plates all over the country, people get into fights about them—they have to be white or they have to be yellow; they have to be stone-ground, which means coarse, or they have to be fine-ground, like quick-cooking grits; they have to be cooked a long time, or hardly at all. You know I have my own ideas. I love the delicate taste of white grits, and I like the fineness of quick-cooking grits. But I don't use quick-cooking grits to save time; I cook them for about an hour, slowly and gently, stirring, so they're creamy and rich. Stone-ground grits, to me, taste too 'gritty,' but if you like them, you cook them the same way. I also have an overnight version for those grits that gives them a really smooth texture. You should try it. Grits are not only for breakfast. They're often served as a side dish with dinner, and of course Shrimp and Grits is one of the great dishes of my part of the South. But because breakfast is unthinkable without them, I've put the recipe here. My family and friends and I all rinse grits three times—a little of the starch comes off, and I think they taste better."
List of Ingredients
◦ 1 ⅓ cups quick-cooking white grits
◦ 5 cups hot water
◦ ˝ teaspoon salt, or more to taste
◦ 2 tablespoons butter
◦ Ground black pepper to taste (optional)
Put the grits in the large saucepan you plan to cook them in. Fill the pan halfway with hot water, swish the grits around a little, let them settle to the bottom, and pour off the water; repeat two more times. On the third and final rinse, tip the pan slowly and carefully, holding the grits back with your hand, and pour off as much of the water as you can without losing the heavier grits—it's fine if the lighter grits float up and go down the drain.
Add the 5 cups hot water to the rinsed grits and stir with a whisk. Add the salt. Cover the pan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Lift the lid to stir often, and watch that the pan doesn't boil over. As you stir the grits, you'll notice that after 15 to 20 minutes they will suddenly start jumping around and making a popping sound; this means that the water is disappearing. Then it's time to turn the heat down a little, to medium-low, and leave the grits to simmer. Keep the lid on and, from time to time, give them a good stir.
After the grits have cooked for an hour, stir in the butter. Taste the grits for salt and add more if you need to, as well as the pepper, if you're using it. Serve right away, or cover and keep the grits warm on the stovetop over low heat. Stir them every now and then and check to see if you need to add a little more hot water. They'll keep for hours this way.
For cheese grits, I just add a handful or two of shredded cheddar cheese to the hot grits and stir it in well.