Grits done right...

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 

Delia's Chicken Sausage Stand

When you walk inside Delia's Chicken Sausage Stand in East Atlanta, it's quickly apparent there's a savvy, experienced hand behind this well designed food haunt. It turns out to be Delia Champion of Flying Biscuit fame and her business partner, Molly Gunn of Porter in Atlanta. 

My 12 year old nephew, Cameron is a foodie in training. He loves to go out to eat so I figured visiting Delia's would be a good blog entry we could work on together. Delia graciously hooked us up with some of the house favorites as I made sure Cam and I were prepared with an empty, growling stomach. I chose the Naked Slinger with comeback sauce, a classic Southern topping from central Mississippi....while Cam went a more adventurous route with the Gunn Slinger; chicken sausage, guacamole, salsa, jalapenos and comeback sauce. We just closed our eyes and said ummmm....

Now this next one is for the not-so-sensitive stomach types or the late night's called the Double D Delight Slider. It's actually a Krispy Kreme glazed donut turned inside out and grilled with a chicken sausage patty and cherry cream cheese on the inside. I knew myself enough to pass this taste test along to Cam. He gave this dish two thumbs up...after he licked the sugar off his thumbs that is. 

Santschi Design is behind the wonderful eye catching interior while Wendy Weiner of Riot Creative Imaging created Delia's lively graphic design. The guide words Wendy used to approach the graphics were "sense of humor, engaging and reclaimed." My favorite element is the homemade wallpaper with phrases and illustrations of their own creation. Delia admits they may have sat around with a few cocktails one night and thought up such favorites as 'mother clucker,' 'cluckin' crazy,' and 'fun in a bun.' I also love the reclaimed wood used on the condiment table and front counter. For this look, the design team sought out Georgia wood worker, Margaret Taylor to create the custom pieces. Reclaimed wood, i love. When it's super distressed and full of color, I salivate. 

When Cam and I go out to eat, dessert is of high importance. So when we read 'Cake Shake' on the menu, we knew that had to be the one to try. On this day they were offering a chocolate or red velvet cupcake shake. We both chose chocolate... 

Laketha created a Cake Shake for Cam and I in just a couple minutes. All it takes is a blending of ice cream and a cupcake and voila...lots of chocolaty goodness! Delia and Molly's colleagues, Wendy Weiner and John Ryan helped bring this fun, 'who needs a diet?' shake into existence. 

Cam was happy. The good thing too is you can take this home and put it in your fridge and come back to it throughout the day when you want a little jolt of yumminess. That's what I did anyway, Cam finished his before we pulled into my driveway. See their full, mouth watering menu here. 

As I live close by, I'm so happy that Delia and Molly decided to share their culinary expertise in this slowly evolving section of Atlanta. Their Chicken Sausage Stand, which by the way uses locally sourced, small batch sausage from Gainesville, Georgia, has received endless accolades and a loyal fan base. (and another by the way- if you're a vegetarian, no worries- just tell them to 'Cluck Off' and you'll get any of the entrees with the veggie sausage instead.) In the coming months, keep an eye out for Delia and Molly's next endeavor....the food truck! 


Photos and Content: Sweet Peach