grits: oatmeal of the south.

grits: oatmeal of the south.

Bahhh, two bacon spinach salads, one crustless quiche and an All-American breakfast later, and what do we have? MORE bacon in my fridge. Sigh.

I’ve been sick of ingredients before, but it’s usually because I’m bored with it. Not because it’s delicious and unhealthy as hell. So what’s a girl who likes to cook for her boy to do?

Well, I reckon she makes him some grits with bacon.

Grits are easy shmeazy. I didn’t actually have them growing up, despite being a Texas child. I can only guess that’s because I’m a displaced Iowan, or at least my parents are. But thanks to a late night adventure at Waffle House that led to an order of cheesy grits (aka a small bowl of grits with a slice of American cheese on top) to accompany my chocolate-chip waffle, I became a fan of the stuff.

First I fell into the quick fix – one-serving packets of instant grits, that is – and ate them simply, with a quick zap in the microwave, a little butter and a dash of salt and pepper, before heading to class. Nothing special, just a means for appeasing a whiny stomach.

Then I met Mr. Joshua White. With family deeply rooted in the heart of New Orleans, where the grits flow mightily, he is no stranger to grits. (Though his preference for grits with barbecue sauce and hard-boiled eggs remains in question.)

Inspired by Mr. White’s experimentation, however strange (love ya, babe), I found myself curious of what else could spice up the simple ground corn dish. One day our love of bowls and one-dish meals led to my grits being filled with slices of breakfast sausage, sautéed onions and shredded cheddar.

A while back, I tried my hand at shrimp and grits, which turned out rich and savory but was more work than I’m willing to put in for grits. No offense to aficionados of Low Country cuisine, but I’d prefer to save my shrimp for higher causes.

But back to bacon. Bacon and grits seem to sit on the same plane. They’re equals in the breakfast kitchen. Bacon needs not a higher cause than livening up some grits, at least not in my book. Grits’ smooth, chewy texture pairs nicely with the crunch and savory oinker flavor of the bacon. While combining the two is no rocket science, I got a decent picture the other day, so I thought I’d share this simple spin on the Southern staple.

Cheesy Bacon Grits

  • 2 cups grits
  • 3 to 4 slices bacon
  • 3/4 cup cheddar cheese, grated
  • 2 scallions, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
  • 1 tablespoon butter (or bacon grease)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Louisiana hot sauce

(Serves 4)

Boil grits according to directions, and season with salt and pepper and butter.

Meanwhile, start sizzling your bacon and slice scallions. Set scallions aside.

When the bacon is good and crispy (it crumbles better when crunchy), let it cool on a paper towel-covered plate. Divide the grits between bowls, blot off any excess grease on bacon and crumble among bowls. (I used kitchen shears to avoid stubbornly greasy hands and keep from having teeny bits and great big pieces.)

Top with shredded cheddar and scallions. And the final touch that keeps close to its roots and gives your grits a nice kick: a generous dousing with Louisiana hot sauce.

Great for occasional breaks from calorie counting and nods to NOLA, this once-in-a-while indulgence is a tasty option for a quick and easy dinner.

How do you eat your grits?

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3 thoughts on “grits: oatmeal of the south.

  1. I’m a bit of an oddball in that I like sweet grits. And coming from (and being in) the South means I’ve been accused of being a Northerner more than once for my preference. Have no fear, though. I prove my Southern heritage every time I have a glass of buttermilk with salt and pepper.

    Paul

    1. Yep, my dad, the ex-Northerner, likes sweet grits, too. But buttermilk with S&P?? That’s a new one to me, though I’m not sure I’ve ever drank the stuff straight up. =)

      1. Trust me, buttermilk with salt and pepper is only slightly less Southern than a Ford pickup with a gun rack and a Confederate flag sticker.

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