I did not grow up eating grits and the first time I did try grits was also the first visit to a Cracker Barrel. I cannot say that I was overly impressed, but I also did not have any problem finishing the grits that time or any time since then. Over the past few years I have begun to incorporate grits not as a breakfast dish, but as alternative to the more traditional starch components (pasta, potato or rice) of the dinner.
There is much conflicting information on the difference between Grits and Polenta; Color: White or Yellow, Processing: Lye versus No Chemical Treatment, Corn Type: Flint or Dent, Hull Ground: Yes or No, Grind Texture: Fine, Medium or Coarse and Cooking Time: Instant, Quick or Traditional. With all of that being said, I have been using Quick Cooking Grits (5 – 7 minutes) for many of the experiments with Grit side dishes.
Grits are an amazing median in which to impart flavors and additional texture to a meal that otherwise would be absent. The other night I was preparing fish baked with salsa and steamed asparagus and was looking for a starch to tie the dish together. I was looking to prepare a starch that was spicy, creamy, yet not a lead balloon in the gut.
- 4 Cups of Water
- 1 Large Tomato Bouillon Cube with Chicken Flavor (any bouillon cube flavor would work well)
- 1 Cup of Quick Grits
- 1/2 Cup of Salsa (I used Medium Heat. If I had Chipoltes in Adobo Sauce I would have tried this flavoring)
- 2 Large Handfuls of Shredded Pepper Jack Cheese
- Add the bouillon cube to the water and bring to a boil.
- Add the Quick Grits, reduce the heat to Medium and stir frequently for 5 – 7 minutes.
- Add the Salsa and Shredded Cheese and thoroughly mix.
- Turn off the heat and allow the grits to set and cool for a few minutes.
To make Fiesta Style Cheesy Grits is this simple and yet the flavor and creamy texture would make you think that you spent more then the 10 minutes required to prepare this side dish. The only word of caution that I do have is that you will be inclined to eat all of the Fiesta Style Cheesy Grits. They are that good and border on being considered comfort food.