Heirloom Grits

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  • 1 cup Anson Mills coarse heirloom (antebellum) grits*
  • 1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream

Recipe Preparation

  • Combine 3 cups water, grits, and 1 teaspoon salt in heavy large saucepan. Stir briskly, skimming impurities from top of water. Place saucepan over medium heat and cook, stirring often, until grits are thick and large bubbles rise to surface. Cover, reduce heat to very low, and simmer until grits are tender, stirring occasionally, about 35 minutes. Mix in cream. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

  • *Organic grits ground from heirloom corn; available from ansonmills.com.

Reviews Section

Get creative with your Cornbread! Ive been playing around with my friend Bob Cook's Korean Mustard lately. This is a delicious and unique sauce that goes insanely well with any sort of sandwich (especially beef). So naturally I tried it in some cornbread with one of my other favorite ingredients, Plantains! Sounds weird, I know and I'm not even sure how I mentally arrived at this pairing but it works. So order some Korean Mustard and try it out. This is our recipe for Korean Mustard and Plantain Cornbread. Sounds Crazy, Tastes Delicious!

A Note on Plantains: If they don't look like a rotten banana they aint ripe enough. They need to be all black and a little squishy. Trust me, its ok.

Korean Mustard and Plantain Cornbread

2 large or 3 small over ripe plantains

1 Quickie Bag of Altman Farm and Mill Cornbread Mix

3 tbsp butter (plus another 3 tbsp for sauteing the plantains)

Peel the plantains and chop them about the size of a marble. Saute the plantains with about 3 tbsp butter until they start to caramelize. While the Plantains are cooling, mix the cornbread according to the directions on the bag and add the Korean Mustard. Fold in the Plantains, pour the batter in a hot skillet and bake at 425 for about 16 minutes. Enjoy.

How to Cook Delicious Stone-Ground Grits

Grits are usually eaten for breakfast in the South, but they can also be enjoyed fried or as a savory side dish with meat, shrimp, or cheese. Whether you like your grits plain or fancy, these basic cooking instructions for stone-ground grits will ensure they're perfect every time.

The recipe is for stone-ground grits, not instant or fast-cooking grits. This traditional variety of dried hominy absorbs about four times the amount of liquid and is cooked slowly. If you're going to make a larger or smaller batch, be sure to keep the ratio of 1 cup of grits to 4 1/2 cups of water intact. We don't recommend using milk for cooking grits since it can scorch. Feel free to add milk or cream at the end if desired.

Grits can be cooked on the stovetop or in your slow cooker and instructions are included for both methods. You'll also find some creative ways to serve grits along with tasty add-ins that transform this favorite pantry food into a versatile meal option.

Greg Johnsman’s Take on Instant vs. Heirloom

As Vivian mentions in the episode, many of us only eat instant varieties of our favorite porridges. And understandably so. Instant oatmeals, grits, and other quick bowls of boiled and mushed grains are convenient for feeding kids before school and parents before the office. After a couple of microwaved minutes, instant porridges provide enough energy to jumpstart a long day of work or play. But, according to Greg Johnsman, owner of Geechie Boy Mill on South Carolina’s picturesque Edisto Island, nothing can replace the comfort of a bowl of your favorite porridge slow-boiled to a hearty thickness.

Johnsman is very familiar with instant porridges but is committed to making grits the old-fashioned way. His heirloom grains include revived strains of rice as well as stone-ground grits that are milled, bagged, sealed and shipped straight from his mill to your front door. His brand is popular among chefs who are interested in resuscitating forgotten grains that are as important to the South’s past as any shared history. We asked Johnsman a few questions about instant vs. heirloom grains. When we talked, he disclaimed, “[I] might not have the best answers, but the science is for others. I’m a miller and farmer and love what we do.” In our opinion, that makes him a qualified expert.

What exactly are heirloom grits?

To me, heirloom grits are an old-time variety, open-pollinated instead of hybrid [an offspring of two different grains] a corn that has been saved and passed down. There are many more reasons but, they basically all translate to years of love.

What makes a grain "heirloom?"

I think the actual definition is so many years removed, but for me, it’s something passed down not something I can get at any grocery store.

What is the difference between instant grits, quick grits, and heirloom grits?

Instant grits are enriched. They are already cooked and dehydrated to make them cook really quick. In other words: blah, yuck!

Quick grits can be milled smaller for faster cooking or, similar to the instant variety, they are already cooked and dehydrated to cut down on cooking time.

And I saved the best for last — heirloom grits. They are milled only on stone. Heirloom grits are basically stone ground goodness! You separate the corn to remove any unwanted chaff [hulls]. The seeds are prized and passed down. They make a darn good bowl of grits.

Do you ever eat instant grits?

I have eaten them a long time ago. I would even consider eating them again if they could taste as good as a ‘Frito pie (when you put all the good stuff in the bag). I don’t think instant could ever be as good as ‘Frito pie, so they may be best used as putty or as a crack filler.

In your opinion, what makes the perfect bowl of grits?

The perfect bowl of grits starts with a “memory bowl,” either something you ate as a kid like a plastic bowl with a superhero on it or a handmade piece of pottery for the fancy grits. The bowl sets the stage. Then you take an heirloom grit that you have been growing for at least eight years and put a large spoonful in. That spoonful holds all the memories of growing and milling the grain. Finally “the shower” comes. Sometimes “the shower’ is some cheese, like smoked Gouda, potlikker, pork sausage (cooked and crumbled), a can of diced tomatoes and green chilies. And grate a favorite cheese, like smoked Gouda, in there. Dump it all in the mix and serve. Oh! and lick the spoon when you're done!

This Small South Carolina Farm May Mill the Best Grits in America

Some people can easily tick off the 10 best burgers they&aposve ever had. As Southerners, sure, we could do that, but we&aposd rather wax poetic on the best grits we&aposve ever had. Lowcountry shrimp and grits, how we love thee. Laid-back grits bar brunches. Those creamy Anson Mills rice grits with key lime braised Sea Island red peas, Cuban romesco, basil-arugula salsa verde, and crispy chicharrón at the Havana Beach Bar and Grill in Rosemary Beach? We&aposre still dreaming about them months later.

While everyone has their go-to brand for making grits at home, here&aposs a new favorite to add to your culinary arsenal: Colonial Milling. Milled on their pink granite stone mill in the tiny town of Pauline, South Carolina, farmer Jon Stauffer and his team make some of the best grits and cornmeal you&aposve ever tasted.

As GoUpstate.com recently reported, Stauffer started Colonial Milling around two-and-a-half years ago, and his grits and cornmeal have subsequently exploded in the local area. Stauffer credits his wife Michelle — who also homeschools their son and works as a part-time nurse — for helping on the farm and leading online business efforts for the company&aposs success.

"It&aposs amazing grits. It tastes like freaking popcorn. It&aposs crazy," Jaime Cribb, head chef at The Kennedy in Spartanburg, said in the article. "I&aposve heard countless reactions of, ‘Man these are the best grits I&aposve ever had,&apos or, ‘Where did you get these?&apos or, ‘I didn&apost know grits could taste this good.&apos"

WATCH: The Southern History Of Grits

Thankfully, you don&apost have to be in the Spartanburg area to taste these non-GMO, heirloom grits and cornmeal. Colonial Milling ships nationwide, and you can order them online here.

Recipe Summary

  • 3 cups water
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup quick-cooking grits
  • 1 (7 ounce) package garlic cheese spread
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 ½ pounds fresh shrimp, shelled and deveined without tails
  • 1 large tomato, diced
  • salt and pepper to taste

In a saucepan, bring the water and salt to a boil. Stir in the quick grits and reduce the heat. Cook slowly for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the garlic cheese until melted. Let sit for 2 to 4 minutes keep warm.

In a skillet, heat the butter and oil over medium heat. Saute the shrimp until pink. Stir in diced tomato and cook until tomato is heated through. Remove from heat and salt and pepper to taste.

White corn grits with shrimp

Soaking the grits overnight makes for a creamier finish, with little need to add butter (although a nice knob tastes delicious). Cook the eight shrimp in the finished sauce. It’s convenient and it makes them even pinker, plus adds a whiff of sea breeze to the sauce. The entire recipe serves two nicely, with grits to spare if desired.

Ingredients for shrimp and grits

1 cup uncooked stone-ground white corn grits

4 cups filtered water, in two 2-cup portions

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

2 tablespoons fruity extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 medium yellow or white onion, diced

1 small carrot, peeled and diced

1 clove garlic, peeled and chopped

2 pinches herbes de Provence, crushed in fingertips

1/2 teaspoon chile powder, heat level your choice

6 squirts Tabasco Pepper Sauce (or more, to taste)

1/4 teaspoon kosher or sea salt

1 14-ounce can good-quality whole peeled tomatoes

8 shrimp, raw, 16-20 size or larger, rinsed

Finished cooked grits, warm

Fresh chives, chopped both into both small sticks and “confetti”

Tabasco Pepper Sauce, for serving

Directions for shrimp and grits

Start the grits the night before: Put the grits into a medium-sized, heavy-bottomed saucepan and add one portion of the water (2 cups). Stir them and let them settle for a minute then skim off any chaff that floats, using the edge of a spoon or a fine-meshed strainer. Cover the pot and let the grits soak overnight on the counter.

Cook the grits by setting the pot over medium heat. Bring the mix to a simmer, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the first starch takes hold, about 6-7 minutes in. Turn the heat down to its lowest possible setting.

Meanwhile, heat the other portion of the water (2 cups) in a small saucepan and keep it hot but not boiling.

As the grits cook, keep an eye on them and ladle in 1/2 cup of the hot water each time they thicken enough to resist stirring, for a total of about 3 additions of water and 20-25 minutes total cooking, stirring occasionally. (You may or may not use up all the water.)

The grits should be creamy and tender but not broken down and mushy. Add 1 teaspoon salt and a few grindings of pepper halfway through the cooking, and swirl in the butter at the end.

Meanwhile, prepare the shrimps: In a medium-large saucepan, over medium-high heat, heat the olive oil and add the onions, carrot and celery and begin sweating them, 3-4 minutes. Add the garlic, lower the heat slightly and cook 7 minutes more. Add all the seasonings (herbs, chile powder, Tabasco, black pepper and salt), mix them in well, then add the tomatoes, crushing them with a potato masher (or forcefully in your hands as you add them).

Bring the mixture to a steady simmer and cook it, stirring once in a while, for 15 minutes, the pot lid ajar. Remove from heat and set aside to cool a bit. Blend into a sauce with an immersion or other blender, minding splashes if the mixture is still hot.

In a small saucepan, heat the sauce to a quick simmer, add the shrimps and, when the sauce returns to a simmer, cook the shrimps for 5 minutes, stirring a bit. Remove the shrimps with tongs, knocking off extra sauce, and place them on a warmed plate.

To serve, place 1/2 of the grits, patted flat, in the center of a large plate with high sides. Ring the grits with 1/2 of the sauce, then top the grits with 4 of the shrimps and garnish with the 2 forms of chopped chives. Serve Tabasco Pepper Sauce alongside.


  • 1 pound peeled and deveined tail-on raw large shrimp
  • 2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning (such as Tony Chachere&rsquos)
  • 4 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter (4 ounces), divided
  • 1 cup uncooked freshly ground grits (such as Bellegarde Heirloom Grits)
  • 3 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
  • 3/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup yellow mustard seeds
  • 1 medium-size (8-ounce) green tomato, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 cup diagonally sliced scallion

Preheat oven to 200°F. Toss together shrimp and Cajun seasoning in a medium bowl. Cover refrigerate until ready to use.

Place milk and 1/4 cup butter in a medium ovenproof saucepan. Bring to a vigorous simmer over medium, stirring occasionally. Gradually add grits, whisking constantly. Reduce heat to medium-low cook, whisking constantly, until mixture thickens slightly and grits are evenly suspended in milk, about 6 minutes. Cover saucepan transfer to preheated oven. Bake until grits are tender, 1 hour to 1 hour and 30 minutes. Remove from oven stir in 2 teaspoons salt and remaining 1/4 cup butter. Cover to keep warm until ready to use.

Meanwhile, stir together vinegar, 3/4 cup water, sugar, and remaining 1 1/4 teaspoons salt in a saucepan bring to a boil over high. Stir in mustard seeds. Reduce heat to medium-low simmer, stirring occasionally, until seeds are tender, about 35 minutes. Add tomato and bell pepper cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are tender and mixture has thickened, 14 to 16 minutes. Remove from heat.

Remove shrimp from refrigerator. Heat oil in a large cast-iron skillet over high until smoking. Add shrimp to skillet in a single layer cook until opaque and lightly charred, about 1 minute and 30 seconds per side. To serve, divide grits among 4 bowls. Top evenly with shrimp and chowchow sprinkle with sliced scallion.

Heirloom Tomato Bowl with Goat Cheese Grits

Can we just talk for a quick sec about my new obsession with putting a fried egg on EVERYTHING!? What is that?? I seriously can’t stop creating new recipes where I can finish it off with a farm fresh, olive oil simmered, golden yolked beauty, like in these AMAZING LENTILS from last week. Every single bowl had an egg on top. I’d stick one on this vegan Pumpkin Ganache Cake with Maple Buttercream Frosting, but I may be crossing the line a little bit there. Plus, that cake needs literally nothing else to be amazing.

Fortunately for me, heirloom tomatoes are at the end of their season and I found the most, as my grandmother would say “scrumptious” baby variety at the produce market last week. As they caught my eye, this convo went down:

Baby tomatoes: “Hey you, buy us, cook us and put an egg on top.”

Me: “I don’t know, I’ve been doing that alot lately. Maybe I should try something different this week?”

Baby tomatoes: “Do it. And use basil.”

Me: “Really, you had me at egg, but basil just sealed the deal.”

Soooo – the rest is history. And in my belly. And in the fridge for more later this week. And probably next week too until I find the next place to lay my egg )

With much love from my table to yours,


In Our Kitchen

Like old family photographs, recipes passed down through the generations are something to treasure. And just like those old photos, recipes can bring back many memories – be it the special person that would make the recipe, the love they put into it, or even the time spent in the kitchen preparing the recipe together. Each stain, crease and faded handwritten note helps tell the story of that recipe, the person who made it, and how it was shared among family and friends. These treasured family recipes are something to cling to, to cherish, and to share.

Unfortunately, not all recipes are written down and far too many get lost over time to fade into memory like timeworn photos. That’s why we’ve set out to go back further than just our own families and seek out forgotten recipes that tell the story of who we are as a community and where we came from. We’re looking back to the early settlers of Pigeon Forge and all of East Tennessee, to the pioneers in not only the land they worked but the work that they pioneered in, and to the legacy they’ve left behind.

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