Make-ahead tip: The grits can be kept at room temperature for up to 2 hours. Add a few tablespoons of warm water to thin the grits before reheating.
Smoky Shrimp and Grits
Old-school Southern cooks prepare grits with an abundance of butter and cheddar. To make the dish less heavy, Grace Parisi cuts back on the cheese, drops the butter altogether and adds spinach.
Cheesy Grits Casserole
Clothing designer Billy Reid says, "Folks in the South start eating grits young. You learn to love them as a kid and it never goes away." Using old-fashioned, stone-ground grits gives the casserole a better texture and flavor than quick cooking grits.
Grits with Wild Mushrooms and Sherry Broth
Douglas Keane and his mother, Kathryn Douglas, occasionally hunt for mushrooms together on the Sonoma Coast in California. After one of their more successful foraging trips, she came up with this earthy recipe while cooking for Keane and his brother. Keane describes it as one of the most satisfying dishes he has ever eaten because the brilliant sherry broth adds a sophisticated twist to one of his favorite comfort foods, creamy grits.
Creamy Cheese Grits
These luscious cheese grits replace standard mashed potatoes as an alluring side dish for Marcia Kiesel's roasted whole chicken with tomatoes.
Corn and Goat Cheese Grits
"I decided to citify low-country cuisine by adding lots of chopped garlic and fresh goat cheese," says Bobby Flay of these hearty yet elegant grits. The end result is a tangy, creamy, corn-flecked side dish.
Spinach and Cheese Grits Frittatas
You can substitute 1 1/2 cups of shredded Monterey Jack cheese plus 1 cup of sharp white Cheddar cheese for the Spanish tetilla, Manchego and Mahón cheeses used below.
Crispy Grits with Sweet-and-Sour Beets and Mushrooms
This recipe was inspired by a grits dish made by Paul Virant, who worked in Blackbird's kitchen before becoming chef at Vie in Western Springs, a Chicago suburb. "Grits aren't necessarily part of my cooking—polenta would be more traditional. But the texture of these white grits blew me away," he says.
Cheesy Grits with Scallions
Slivers of scallion add zip to these comforting grits. Daniel Orr makes his with stone-ground hominy from Webb's Farm, an Amish producer in nearby Oden, Indiana.
"I seriously have received three marriage proposals over a bowl of my cheese grits," says Amber Huffman. "I've accepted none so far."
Cheddar-Cheese Grits with Spicy Black Beans
Southern and Southwestern ingredients unite in this sustaining meal of beans, peppers, and tomatoes over the best grits you will ever eat. If you don't have the quick-cooking variety, use regular and follow the instructions on the package.
Turkey Sausage with Cheddar-Cheese Grits and Tomato Sauce
Creamy, cheesy grits capture the juices from the fresh tomatoes, making a perfect foil for the sausage links. Chicken sausage also works well in this homey combination.