For Creamy Grits, Make Sure To Use Low Heat

Creamy grits with shrimp
Creamy grits with shrimp - Africa Studio/Shutterstock

Anyone who has ever seen "My Cousin Vinny" knows that you need to take your time with grits. Though not many of us are going to be finding ourselves in the situation of providing grit timing as a legal defense to get our cousin off a trumped-up murder charge, it is nevertheless an extremely important component for making excellent grits. And what other cooking element goes hand-in-hand with longer cook times? Low heat.

Cooking grits in this manner has everything to do with the ultimate mouthfeel. Grits should be beautifully smooth and creamy, not lumpy or gristly. Using the low heat, taking your time, and whisking the grits throughout cooking allows them to remain smooth and break down to a point where they are creamy and very easily chewable.

Much like with risotto, the more you stir the grist over the low heat, the more starch they are able to release. Keeping the heat low, as opposed to jacking up the temperature and increasing the cooking speed, allows for the grits to very gently release that essential starch. Having the heat too high will likely lead to seized, lumpy grits. So, with a little bit of patience, you can get the most luxuriously creamy grits you've ever had in your entire life by keeping the heat low and cooking slow.

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How To Make The Ultimate Creamy Grits

Hot bowl of shrimp and grits
Hot bowl of shrimp and grits - Lauripatterson/Getty Images

Grits require about a 1:4 grain-to-liquid ratio to cook. The grits will expand into their eventual creamy mass as the starch is released and the grits take on the moisture, which should be a combination of milk and water for the creamiest results. You can swap water with broth for even more flavor.

Begin by bringing the water to a boil. Mix in the heavy cream, and again bring the combined liquid to a boil. At this point add the grits, stirring them consistently as they come to a boil. This is the highest temperature your grits will reach during the entire cooking process. Once the grits have come to a boil, turn the heat down to low so they stay at a gentle simmer. Keep the grits covered, except for the occasional check and stir. Remember, you want your grits as smooth as possible, so be sure to stir them with some frequency. The grits should take somewhere in the area of 45 minutes to cook. You'll know the grits are ready when they no longer have any hard bite to them and are velvety smooth in appearance and texture. They should have absorbed all the liquid and be wonderfully creamy.

You can add some butter for additional creaminess, as well as salt and pepper to taste. With any luck, your patience will have paid off and you'll have yourself grits worthy of a courtroom drama.

Read the original article on Tasting Table.