Bijouxs is back taking holiday sides and this week how to add true grits to your holiday table – White Cheddar Grits with Ancho Chile Butter – a sublime and creamy side that takes the place of mashed potatoes and maybe best of all is a recipe that excels in a slow cooker – let’s get going and get some true grits.
True grits, a dish revived by Southern chefs, deeply rooted in American history and completely delicious. Grits were never the first thing that came to mind as a holiday side dish until a true Southerner moved in next door. Grits, along with other Southern cooking delicacies became a part of the Bijouxs kitchen, along with some good life lessons.
Grits consist of ground corn, part and parcel to other corn-based porridges, such as the polenta, a staple in Italian cuisine, which is combined with grits in this recipe. Preparing and enjoying true grits will bear no resemblance to the instant version lining supermarket shelves, with just a little time and a slow cooker, true grits may be yours.
First step get yourself some true grits. At the top of my list is Anson Mills, where handmade mill goods are made with organic heirloom grains, a labor of love to bring classic Southern grains to the table. They offer a great selection, more than just grits, with cooking instructions and information on their website. Locally in LA, Surfas stocks some of the Anson Mills products, look to the refrigerated case where they are stored to ensure freshness. I chose Anson White Antebellum Grits and a fine white Italian polenta for the recipe.
White cheddar grits are infused with garlic and shallots, slow cooked with stock and cream and served on the side with ancho chile butter (that’s West meets the South). The slow cooker is truly the way to go, sautéed garlic and shallots are combined with the grits, polenta, stock and cream and off to cook for about 1-2 hours with a stir here and there, lastly mix in the cheddar cheese, and served draped with the ancho chile butter. Consider grits instead of mashed potatoes, a Southern side of the holidays.
True grits could not be a more appropriate recipe for this week’s post. High winds, up to 90 miles an hour, swept through the area, wreaking havoc with hundreds of downed trees and power lines, leaving the “ranch” without power for 6 days. So, people and pets packed up, and just returned to clean up and begin restocking the fridges and freezers, all perishable foods were lost. (I was able to save 4 pounds of frozen pitted sour cherries and leaf lard for holiday baking, yay!). Much gratitude to our friends for opening their warm home, feeding us delicious hot meals and keeping spirits high.
True grits, a simply delicious Southern side dish for your holiday table and having true grits is also an expression from the southern United States meaning strength of mind and the courage to see through one’s convictions even in the face of strong adversity, something I see we really all do very well.
Please note: Correction to recipe=1 1/2 cups Cheddar Cheese (original posted recipe read only 1/2 cup, which will work, but much better with the full amount of cheese) Thank you!