You don't have to be from the South to enjoy the thick, hearty comfort that is a bowl of grits. The dish is inherently rich and creamy, but that doesn't mean there aren't ways to make them even more luxurious. Like pasta and rice, grits release starch as they simmer over the stove, and many assert that the starches alone are responsible for the creaminess of grits. though butter and lard are common add-ins to enhance flavor and texture. However, heavy cream is the ingredient that will take your grits to the most luxurious heights.
It doesn't take much more than a splash of this rich and flavorful ingredient to infuse everything from sauces to desserts with silkiness and depth. You can whisk heavy cream into a freshly cooked pot of grits along with butter for an extra dose of dairy or us it as a supplementary cooking liquid to blend with water, stock, or even milk. Since heavy cream is slightly sweet, blending it with a savory stock or regular milk will temper the sweetness.
Some recipes add a cup of heavy cream per three or four cups of water or stock. Other recipes recommend using heavy cream along with half-and-half to thin out the cream without detracting from its rich flavor. You can also add freshly ground black pepper, white pepper, or sharp cheese to balance the sweetness and complement the grits' savory, earthy corn taste. Bringing the desired mixture of heavy cream and liquid to a boil will effectively incorporate it into the cooking foundation for the grits.
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Tips For Cooking Grits
Despite being a staple in Southern kitchens and cuisines, grits require more time, attention, and effort than a pot of rice or pasta. While there have been plenty of advances to streamline cooking times by offering quick-cooking or even instant grits, stone ground whole grits remain the gold standard for taste and texture. Instant grits cook quickly because they've been ground into a fine powder, resulting in a more uniformly smooth texture. Stone ground grits deliver a perfect balance of grainy and creamy.
If you use stone ground grits, the ratio of liquid to grits is at least four parts liquid to one part grits. While stone ground grits take much longer to cook, you can speed up the process by soaking the grits in hot water before cooking them. After adding cooking liquid to the pot, add the grits, bring to a boil, then turn off the heat and let soak for 10 minutes before placing the grits and liquid back on the stove to cook.
Low and slow is the best method for the creamiest results. While you will have to stir the grits throughout the cooking process, placing a lid on the pot between stirs will further ensure a creamy, lump-free consistency. For stir-free options, slow cookers and instant pots will render creamy and lump-free results.
Read the original article on Tasting Table.