Why, oh, why did it take me so long to discover grits? I’ve been a pretty big fan of their Italian cousin, polenta, for quite some time now, but after the past couple weeks I think I’m actually partial to Southern version. Why? I’m not exactly sure. With smoky bacon, cheddar and shrimp, my last version of grits was pretty destined to be a hit. But even these simple vegetarian grits, with only corn and cheddar as add-ins, are a super tasty and satisfying meal.
Perhaps its the Southern lack of pretention? While most polenta recipes will instruct you to stir for no less than 40 minutes, many Southern recipes seemed to recommend something in the 10-20 minute range. I found the finished dish no worse off, which makes these a totally doable weeknight option.
Sweet Onion and Corn Cheddar Grits
Yield: 4 servings
* 1 medium onion, preferably a sweet variety
* 1 Tablespoon olive oil
* scraped kernels from 2 ears of fresh, sweet corn
* 2 cups whole milk
* 2 cups water
* salt and pepper
* 1 cup stone ground grits
* 2 Tablespoons butter
* 3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
* 1/4 cup chopped fresh green onions or chives
Roughly chop the onion and then place in a food processor or Vitamix. Pulse until the onion is chopped/grated very finely. Alternatively, you can grate the onion on a box grater.
Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring, until the onion is transparent. Add the corn and cook for another minute or two. Add the milk, water, salt and pepper and bring to a boil over high heat. Whisk in the grits, decrease the heat to the lowest possible setting and cook, stirring, until the liquid has all been absorbed, about 15-20 minutes. Stir in the butter, cheddar cheese and green onions. Taste and adjust salt and pepper if needed. Serve immediately.