Jalapeno Cheddar Cheese Grits
Jalapeno cheddar cheese grits is a favorite side, but that’s a relatively new development. My childhood experience with grits was not good. Watery, colorless and flavorless spoons of goo is all I remember. Wait there’s more, because even the texture was a challenge because they were… gritty.
The fanciest had a single pat of margarine on them. It’s an understatement when I say despite being from the south, I was not a fan of grits. Maybe you had a similar experience and like me, missed out on some great stuff for many years.
I grew up, moved out on my own and shunned them like you would a religious heretic. As my career progressed, I earned a little more cheddar and began dining better. Dining at nice restaurants is educational. I learned to try new things and revisit old things. I learned a good chef can make strange things taste wonderful and I learned grits can be good.
Making Grits At Home
If you decide to make these or experiment on your own, I have two pieces of advice. Use freshly ground grits and pay attention to the expiration date. Then, make them with anything but water. It’s easy to make tasty grits with chicken stock, beef stock or milk. This is the companion recipe to my smoked gouda cheese grits with chipotle peppers and adobo sauce found HERE.
Now you have no excuse to shun grits any longer!
- Yield: 4-6 1x
- 1 cup freshly ground yellow corn grits
- 4 cups chicken stock (more or less as specified by the grits producer)
- 1/2 stick unsalted butter
- 1 pinch cayenne pepper
- 1 large garlic clove – microplaned
- 8–12 oz extra sharp cheddar cheese – to taste
- 2–3 jalapeno peppers – seeded and diced
- Salt to taste
- Half and half or whole milk – to thin the grits if necessary
- Shred the cheese and dice the jalapeno
- Bring the chicken stock to a boil and add the butter
- While the butter is melting add the cayenne pepper and the garlic
- Pour in the grits while stirring constantly and boil for 2-5 minutes, then turn down the heat to medium low
- Cook until the liquid is absorbed and the grits are soft, about 20-30 minutes while stirring frequently to avoid sticking and burning
- Fold in the cheese until it is melted and incorporated
- Fold in 3/4ths of the jalapeno and reserve the rest for garnish
- Remove from the heat and rest for 5 minutes
- Serve immediately or refrigerate overnight and re-heat when ready to serve
- Serve traditionally or pour into a hotel pan, cool and slice to serve as a loaf