As much as I love making and devouring mashed potatoes with pot roast and gravy, I love grits even more. The creamy ground corn has more texture and more flavor. At least, in my opinion. Add some cheese (and a little bit of Ranch dressing mix) and well, these cheddar Ranch grits are the perfect tasting side dish and very, very easy to make.
You can substitute any good melting cheese you want to these cheddar Ranch grits. I like a nice sharp cheddar because I think it goes perfectly with the corn flavors and the Ranch dressing. I think Monterey jack would also work well in this dish. For some kick, go with pepperjack and add a few chopped roasted jalapenos.
Also try my roasted sweet corn grits.
Cheddar Ranch Grits
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 3 -4 servings
- 3 cups chicken broth
- 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 1 cup corn grits not instant or quick cook
- 1 1/2 tablespoons butter
- 1/2 cup or more, if you want shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese
- 1 tablespoon Ranch dressing mix the dry stuff, not the dressing in a bottle!
Bring broth and salt to a boil in a medium pan over high heat.
Slowly stir in the grits.
Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes, stirring often. To prevent the grits from splattering you can place a lid over the top of the pan but do not cover it completely.
Add the butter and stir to melt.
Add the cheese and Ranch dressing mix and stir until the cheese is melted.
Elliott Moss’ Buxton Hall Barbecue’s Book of Smoke is one of my favorite cookbooks. It actually contains more than just recipes, much more, but the recipes are usually very easy to make and yet still fantastic. Smoked grits are about as simple as you can get, but what you do end up with are grits (and I do so love grits) with just a nice hint of smoke. Not crazy overpowering smoke, you want just a hint of it.One thing I don’t go cheap on is grits. There are a number of small grist mills in Indiana (and in fact my father-in-law once worked in the grist mill at Spring Mill State Park which still operates today here in Indiana) where you can buy freshly ground grits, but you can also find quality grits in the grocery store. My motto is: don’t buy the cheap stuff. Grits are a magical thing and being cheap with them just isn’t necessary. To add even more great smoky flavor I use smoked grits to make my grilled corn grits.
I like smoking things that I haven’t smoked before, like these grits. I’ve also smoked peppercorns, which where a new thing for me too. They also came out great.
Also try my smoked tomato pimento cheese polenta.
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Servings 1 cup
- 1 cup coarse ground grits
Fire up your smoker. Use a light or medium wood, such as apple or hickory. Make sure you have a good amount of smoke.
Spread the grits out 1/2" deep in a pan and place onto the smoker.
Smoke for 4 minutes.
Stir and smoke another 4 minutes.
Cook grits as you normally would.
I don’t make grits often. Certainly not often enough. But the grits I made with some grilled cedar planked shrimp the other day really got me into grits-making mode. So much so that I was thinking about grits while I was shucking some fresh sweet corn. That’s when it hit me. I bet roasted sweet corn would be beyond awesome in grits. And you know, it is!
I threw a few shucks ears of corn onto the grill until they started to char. I cut off the kernels and added them to my go-to grits recipe. The corn kernels add a nice ‘pop’ texture to the grits. You don’t have to roast the corn, but the added smokiness is a nice change.
Also try my cheddar ranch grits.
Roasted Sweet Corn Grits
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 4 servings
For the grits
- 2 ears sweet corn husked
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 cup quick-cooking grits
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 3/4 cup heavy cream
- 3 1/2 ounces extra sharp cheddar cheese shredded
For the sauce
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1 clove garlic mined
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon hot sauce
For the grits
Roast the corn-on-the-cob on a grill over direct heat or in the oven under the broiler.
Let the corn cool slightly before cutting kernels (cut about 2/3rd of the way thru) from the ears.
Bring the broth and butter to a boil in a medium saucepan.
Slowly whisk in the grits.
Cook for 5 minutes, whisking constantly.
Stir in the tomato paste, heavy cream, corn, and the cheese.
Keep stirring 2-3 minutes or until the grits are creamy. If they get too thick add more broth or cream.
Remove from heat.
For the sauce
Melt butter in a large skillet.
Add the garlic and saute for 30 seconds.
Whisk in the flour and continue whisking until the mixture is thick and has turned light tan in color, about 10 minutes.
Slowly whisk in the chicken stock and cream. Cook for 2 more minutes.
Add the Worcestershire sauce and hot sauce. Stir. Remove from heat.