Delia Champion is one of the original founders of the Flying Biscuit, the now famous Atlanta restaurant. One of the first items she made on the menu back in 1993, was polenta (very similar to the traditional grits) and she added parmesan cheese. Her polenta became very popular as it was also a labor of love- getting up at 4am every morning to make enough to last each day. Within time, she transitioned to the more traditional quick grits recipe and soon Delia and her grits were making waves all over the city. Delia knows her grits. As she explains, "When someone says 'I don't like grits,' I don't get that. I can win anybody over with my grits."
So after doing a piece on her wonderful Chicken Sausage Stand last month, I decided to ask Delia to share the secret to her incredibly tasty grits. And we are so lucky that she said yes. To begin, bring 6 cups of water, 2 cups of half and half, salt to taste and 1/4 teaspoon of white pepper to a boil.
It's very important to have a whisk when making grits and just as important to use it. Delia warns, "You must stir, you don't want the grits to clump together because if you stop stirring for too long, they'll become lumpy and you don't want lumpy grits, they need to be creamy and smooth."
Delia believes there's a couple tricks to good grits with the first being to drizzle your grits in slow-ly and whisk the entire time. So when your water comes to a boil, add 2 cups of quick grits nice and slow... Reduce to a low heat and continue to whisk often, until thick and completely smooth, about 10 minutes.
Next, add 1/2 cup grated sharp, white cheddar cheese and allow the cheese to melt. Whisk again to combine.
This is the perfect consistency of good southern style grits. Not too thin, not too lumpy....but just right.
Delia's next trick to good grits is of high importance. TURN HEAT OFF and allow your grits to rest five minutes- then add 4 tablespoons of cubed, unsalted butter. All too often, people add their butter during the cooking time and that will cause your butter to break and that's when you get that oil reaching out to the side of the bowl. So turn the heat off and stir the butter in until completely smooth and silky.
Now you have yourself some delicious southern style, smooth and creamy grits. And don't be afraid to cook grits any time of day. As Delia says, "I love grits because they are that staple that really complement almost anything- from proteins to vegetables- and it fills you up."
For some extra fun, add some sauteed corn to your grits. Delia likes this as it adds a little extra sweetness and texture. (cook just under ten minutes until you get that nice color and the corn softens slightly)
The best part is you can find Delia's fabulous grits at her Sausage Stand. Starting tomorrow, Saturday October 15, Delia will be offering two eggs, lil' breakfast link chicken sausage, grits and sausage gravy. It's a trial run to see how it does, but somehow, someway, I just know it will be an instant hit. Grits from Atlanta's ultimate grits artiste...can't get much better than that.
Photos and Content: Sweet Peach