With the Kentucky Derby coming up next weekend, you may be inviting some friends over to watch the “run for the roses” on television with you and may be serving up some Southern dishes for dinner afterwards.
One food item frequently associated with the South is grits. Now I am a lifelong Virginian, but I had never had grits until I was an adult, so not every single Southerner was raised on grits.
But I have to say that once I encountered them, I discovered why they are a Southern staple. I really like them at breakfast time, but I also serve them at dinnertime as a change from rice or potatoes.
If you are not familiar with grits, it is a Native American ground-corn food, made of an alkali-treated corn known as hominy. In earlier times, the hominy for grits was ground at a gristmill. The ground hominy was then passed through screens, and the coarser kernels were grits. Depending on the color of the corn, grits are either white or yellow.
Nowadays, “quick” grits, which have the germ and hull removed are the most popular kind. Grits are prepared by boiling the ground kernels in water until enough is absorbed to leave the grits in a porridge-like form.
Grits expand when cooked, and stirring helps to prevent sticking and lumps. Grits are most often served with salt, pepper and butter. Grated cheese, sausage, bacon, or red-eye gravy are frequent add-ins.
This grits souffle is quite simple to make, and I have used it at breakfasts, brunches and dinners. You can make it plain or add cheese to it. It is a mild item like mashed potatoes or rice which makes a nice contrast with seasoned or spicy entrees or vegetables.Try this for your next special breakfast or dinner!
2 cups milk
1/2 cup instant grits
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon sugar
3 eggs, separated
1 1/2 cups (5 ounces) shredded sharp Cheddar cheese (optional)
Grease a one-and-one-half-quart casserole dish. In a saucepan, bring the milk to a temperature just below boiling, add the grits and cook until the mixture is thick, stirring all the time. (Be prepared to stir a bit–consider the stirring time a soothing meditation opportunity) Add all the other ingredients except the eggs. Add the beaten egg yolks. Fold in the beaten egg whites. Add the cheese at this time if you decide to use it–you can stir the cheese into the souffle or just sprinkle it on the top. Cook at 375 degrees for thirty minutes. This recipe serves four.