When it comes to grits, you either love them or think you hate them. Personally, I have a serious soft spot for grits. I was once among the crowds that thought I hated them, but it wasn’t until I went down south that I realized they are so much more than the bland instant breakfast kind that is often thought of.
More specifically, stone ground grits. They are so good, that when prepared the right way, they melt in your mouth like buttery mashed potatoes. And as a bonus: easy to make.
In Charleston, the most irresistibly delicious variations are just about everywhere you go. Most commonly you’ll see Shrimp & Grits on the menu, which is a low-country staple — so. heavenly. delicious. Instead of the classic I thought I’d go for a get-through-the-last-few-weeks-of-wintery-blues dish. Chunky beef chili over creamy cheddar grits. Comfort food at it’s finest!
You can’t find yellow stone ground grits everywhere, but they can be can ordered online at several different places if you live in an area that doesn’t sell them at the local grocery store.
Cheddar Cheese Grits
(Cooking tip: Grits need a lot of salt to help bring out the flavors. If your grits taste good, but need just a little boost to make them delicious, you probably need to add more salt)
- 1 ½ cup Yellow Stone Ground Grits
- 2 cans chicken broth
- 1 cup milk
- 1 cup half and half
- 6 tbs butter
- 2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, grated yourself
Bring the milk and chicken stock to a boil in a medium saucepan. Slowly stir in the grits and salt and bring back to a boil. Cover, turn down the heat and simmer for 20-25 minutes (or until grits are tender), stirring occasionally to prevent the grits from burning on the bottom. Once grits are tender, stir in butter and half & half, season with pepper and salt (a lot of salt!) and then turn off heat and stir in cheese.
Spicy Beef Chili
- 1 lb beef shoulder or other beef for stew, cubed
- 2 jalapenos, seeded and diced
- 1 onion, diced
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 (14.5 oz) can chicken broth
- 1 (14.5 oz) can fire-roasted crushed tomatoes
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 can black beans
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tbs ancho chili powder
- ¼ tsp coriander
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp brown sugar
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- a dash of Worcestershire
- a dash of hot sauce
- olive oil
Heat a few spoonfuls of olive oil in a large dutch oven or soup pot, on high heat. Season beef cubes with salt and pepper on all sides and add to pan. Sear the beef on add sides until nice and brown. Remove beef from pan when browned.
Add onions and jalapenos to pot and saute, while scraping up all the brown bits on the bottom of the pan (that is where a lot of your flavor comes from). Saute until the onions are softened and then add garlic. Cook for a minute more. Add all of the spices and cook for another minute. Add brown sugar, tomato paste, Worcestershire, hot sauce and incorporate into the spices. Last, return the beef back to the pot, add the chicken stock and tomatoes and bring to a boil (ensure the chicken stock covers all of the beef completely — if not, add a little water). Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 1 hour. Add the beans and cook for about 30 minutes to one hour more or until your beef is tender and pulls apart with a fork.
Serve over grits and with additional cheese if desired.