Grits with Corn and Onion Greens

Savory grits with extra corn and green onion greens, Parmesan cheese, and parsley.

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Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

A dear friend of mine from Alabama called me recently and demanded to know, “why aren’t there any grits on your site?!” Uh, because I’m not Southern and I don’t know what the heck I’m talking about when it comes to grits and I can’t even try to fake it with our readers? Well, not knowing what we are doing has never stopped us in the past, and my dear ole dad found a recipe for grits he couldn’t pass up. This was so good I made him make it twice. What I have learned in researching grits is that people who grew up eating them are passionate about how they like them – white corn, hominy grits, with syrup for breakfast, etc. So, if you have a particular way that you like your grits, please let us know about it in the comments.

By the way, according to NBC, Michael Phelps eats grits for breakfast, along with several fried egg sandwiches, an omelet, three slices of French toast, and a stack of chocolate chip pancakes. Breakfast of champions.

Grits with Corn and Onion Greens Recipe

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  • Yield: Serves 6 to 8.

Ingredients

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large white or yellow onion, grated
  • 1 cup whole corn kernels, either frozen or freshly cut from the cob
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 2 cups water
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup stone-ground grits or coarse-ground grits
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 3/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (about 3 ounces)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh green onion greens

Method

1 Heat the oil n a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Add the grated onion and cook, stirring, until transparent, about 2 minutes. Add the corn kernels and cook, stirring occasionally, until the kernels become soft, about 5 minutes.

2 Add the milk, water, and 1 teaspoon of the salt. Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat. Whisk in the grits, decrease the heat to low, and simmer, whisking occasionally, until the grits are creamy and thick, 45 to 60 minutes. Stir in the butter, Parmesan, parsley, and chopped green onions. Taste and adjust for seasoning with salt and pepper.

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Recipe adapted from Bon Appetit, Y'All: Recipes and Stories from Three Generations of Southern Cooking by Virginia Willis.

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Showing 4 of 93 Comments

  • Dino

    When I was in Florida, I was introduced to to “Nassau grits” which I liken to the grit equivalent of dirty rice. I discovered that there were many variations that depended on both personal preference and ingredient availability. If you can put it into an omelet, it seemed to be fair game to put into grits. I like the “kitchen sink” variety which may include sausage, bacon, onions, bell peppers, shredded cheese and even bits of scrambled eggs. Some folks cook the grits and then add the extra stuff during cooking -personally, I don’t care when they married the grits to the extras, as long as they got together. If I find myself near grits (usually they’re plain) and despite the fact that I can eat them with a little salt and pepper, I always look for stuff to mix in…I’ll crumble some bacon, add shredded cheese or break up a sausage patty to augment the grits -sort of a personal “grit casserole” …YUM!!!

  • Natalie W

    I have really enjoyed reading everyone’s comments! I’m a native NC girl, now living in the ‘burbs of Nashville, TN married to a die-hard grits eatin’ man from southern VA. As most of the others have said: savory, never sweet. Very salty. Must have sausage patties or links to dip or bacon grease to mix in. As long as there is pork with it, we don’t even add any salt, butter or cheese :) In fact, a pork chop with grits is about the best thing ever!

  • Adrienne

    My mother makes grits cooked with a cinammon stick, butter, vanilla extract and brown sugar…. maybe also some milk I think? She’s from Haiti, and it’s a really wonderful dish! We all love it!

    She’ll also use grits for dinner. She’ll use them like a rice substitute with a chicken dish with gravy and whatever vegetables, or cook them with spices and onions (similar to this recipe) for a savory version of grits.

  • Stella Cadente

    I love grits, but not sweet.

    They are much better cooked in some savory fashion: plain with butter and salt, or with cheese. Or ham or bacon. Garlic is good, especially if you have the cheese and it’s just a sprinkle of a very good garlic salt (like Lawry’s).

    I get instant grits and eat them for breakfast at work all the time. I can’t stand sweets for breakfast, and lots of packaged oatmeals are just too sweet and I’m not taking my own organic honey to work, etc… So grits it is!

    I am going to try this recipe some weekend at home. Sounds amazing, almost like a stewed polenta.

  • Elizabeth Brooks

    I’ve eaten grits my whole life thanks to my mother who born in the south. I often eat them for breakfast or when I don’t feel well. Just a good pat of butter on top with some salt and pepper is wonderful! Sometimes cheese is good too mixed into the warm grits. When I was teaching, one of the books the class read mentioned grits. Very few 4th graders in California have ever eaten grits so I would come armed with pot, spoon, grits, salt, pepper, lots of butter and other necessities. I would make the grits and give each child a small serving. Most of the kids really liked them…you can tell when they ask for more! :) Good memories!

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Grits with Corn and Onion Greens