Friday, March 20, 2009

In Defense of the Grit

Many of you know I had an -ahem- difficult time transitioning to life in the South. Once Mom actually sent me a care package complete with a few cans of Frank's sauerkraut. Sauerkraut, you see, is NOT something the indiginous Southern cook deals with a whole lot. You can get it here but you've got to really search for it. Forget about being picky about brand. I don't think I'll ever appreciate boiled peanuts or sweet tea, but I have come to embrace the grit.

The name "grit" doesn't really make you want to eat it, does it? Make yourself feel better about it. Say it like we do: greee-it. There. All better. If you want to be highbrow about it, hide the box and pretend it's polenta. Although, if you live down here and you serve your guests polenta they will look at you suspiciously. Unless they're Northern transplants.

Here is how I cook my gree-its:
1 can chicken broth (about 2 cups)
1 cup water
1 cup quick gree-its (the kind that cook in 5-7 minutes on the stove. NOT instant!)

Boil the liquids together. Add the grits. Stir it until it's the consistency of soft mashed potatoes, or whatever consistency you like. They will continue to thicken when you take them off the heat.

At this point you can add things to them like a handful of shredded cheese, some frozen corn, a drained rinsed can of black beans, salt and pepper, a pinch of cayenne... The possibilities are endless.

I serve grits as a quick side for dinner. Start to finish they can be on the table in about 10 minutes which makes them MUCH faster than any other starch, except maybe for couscous which we can't eat (gluten). We also eat them for breakfast. And sometimes for a quick lunch.

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