The Nitty Gritty of Grits

“Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.”
‭‭Romans‬ ‭12:12‬ ‭

There has been much debate on grits, the humble food of my Southern childhood.  What are they made from…is it corn?  Do you butter them or top them off with a little sugar?  Instant?  Quick?  Stone ground?  Even the Italians have chimed in, and they call it something completely different…polenta!  Whatever the case may be, I know one thing…grits have reached rock star status in the world of food! Today, let’s get down to the nitty gritty of grits…

Growing up in the Deep South, my Mother made a traditional breakfast every morning…home-made biscuits, bacon or sausage, scrambled eggs, and you guessed it…grits!  But as a child, I would rather scrape the grits off into the garbage can than have to eat them.  And even after I married, I prepared them for my grits-loving husband, but still rarely ate them!  But through the years I gradually started to love and appreciate the food that all good southerners should love.  

 Shrimp and grits became one of my favorites on any menu while vacationing along the beaches of the Gulf Coast!  And when visiting our good friends Patti and Mike in Raleigh, I always looked forward to Mike’s famous sausage grits…which still receive rave reviews from all their friends and family!  I began to see all the well respected chefs in the South slowly adding grits to their menus…no longer a humble breakfast food!  It was on dinner menus and not just in the South!

Absolutely no one does grits like my very favorite chef, Frank Stitt of Highlands Bar and Grill in Birmingham.  His baked grits are foodie heaven and are a mainstay on the menu! 

My foodie recipe is three recipes that I have tweaked and combined to make it easier and quicker, but it does not sacrifice any flavor!

Grits…a bowl of comfort!


Grits with Mushroom Ragout
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Cook Time
40 min
Total Time
40 min
Cook Time
40 min
Total Time
40 min
  1. GRITS
  2. 4 cups chicken stock (preferably home-made, but store bought is ok)
  3. I cup of yellow stone-ground grits (organic is best)
  4. 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  5. 1/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  6. 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  7. Ground pepper to taste
  8. **********************************************
  10. 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  11. 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  12. 2 shallots, finely chopped
  13. 1 clove garlic finely minced
  14. 1/2 pound shiitake mushrooms, trimmed and halved (you may used dried, just reconstitute with hot water)
  15. 2 thyme sprigs
  16. 1/4 cup chicken stock
  17. 1/2 cup heavy cream
  18. Salt and freshly ground pepper
  19. 4 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
  1. Directions for Grits: In a large heavy saucepan, bring chicken stock and salt to a boil, add grits slowly and cook on low, stirring frequently, until thickened and tender, about 40 minutes. When perfectly done, add butter, Parmigiano, and pepper, stirring until fully combined.
  2. Directions for the Mushroom Ragout: In a large skillet, melt the butter in the olive oil. Add the shallots, garlic, and the shiitake mushrooms. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally until softened and golden, about 6 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add the chicken stock and thyme sprigs and simmer for 5 minutes. Discard the thyme sprigs and add the heavy cream and heat on low until the cream is warm.
  1. Serve the grits onto plates, top with the mushroom ragout and crumbled bacon. Serve with a generous sprinkling of grated Parmigiano. Enjoy as an appetizer or side dish. Serves 6.
Everyday Living


 If you read the recipe carefully you might be wondering why there is no bacon sprinkled on top! I may have eaten it or discovered it on the counter after I had finished photographing. I will let you guess! Either way, I wasn’t going to start all over!

I often serve grits for dinner. They pair beautifully with grilled strip steak, sweet Vidalia onions, and roasted red peppers! To complete the meal…roasted asparagus and rosemary focaccia!

I want to know…how do you like your grits?

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  1. Pam, This is a timely post for me. I have my foodie daughter and family visiting this weekend.
    I will try your recipe. But living where I do I don’t think I can find organic grits but will look. Your pics are very professional looking and it sounds delicious.
    I have always LOVED grits in any form!

  2. I’m like you Pam, when I first moved to the South I wanted nothing to do with grits, but somewhere along the line I was introduced to cheese grits and from then on I was hooked! Highlands grits are legendary, and yours look right up there with them! We had a spicy tomato version last week that I will be posting soon, everyone needs grits in their life!! Your grits look great with or without bacon!

  3. Kim says:

    Yay for grits! I’m not much for mushrooms, but I’d go for grilled steak and peppers and onions with grits any day! I really should make your mushroom ragout for HH because he loves mushrooms so much. We’ll see…. Happy Thursday, Pam!

  4. creationsbycindynefcomnet says:

    YUM, YUM, YUM! Pinning this recipe and yes I love grits but I want some CHEESE in my grits! My favorite to make is Shrimp and grits. Thanks so much for sharing your recipe. You are a doll! Hugs and blessings, Cindy

  5. Nancy says:

    Love seeing your grits. When I was little in the 1950s, in Phila. mother made corn meal mush in a pan on the stove. When it was cooked it was poured in a Buttered Pyrex loaf pan and stored in the refrigerator. We ate in in browned slices for breakfast with scrapple or bacon and eggs.
    Now my foodie daughter makes the same thing and calls it polenta. Of course she adds spices and cheese.
    The more things change the more things stay the same

  6. My mouth is watering! I could eat this all day. My husband loves grits to pieces. He also loves polenta…here’s the funny thing. He has a complete and total aversion to anything with chicken broth in it. I don’t tell him there’s usually chicken broth in it. :)

    Happy Thoughts of Home. :)

  7. Leanna says:

    Whenever I am in the US I look for grits. They don’t sell them in Canada, but they do sell polenta. I had no idea they were the same thing. I love love love grits. I will be trying this recipe. Pinned.

  8. Carolyn says:

    Loved your post and I am definitely making the grits and mushroom ragout. I found the recipe in Frank Stitts Southern book. Wish I was closer to go to one of his restaurants.


  9. Pamela says:

    I am a disaster in the kitchen but this has tempted me and I pinned it to my recipe board, which might be my board with the fewest pins on it. 😀 Anyway, when I am feeling adventuresome and have the time, I really am going to try this since my husband love love loves grits.

    Thank you,

  10. Gina says:

    I didn’t have grits for the first time until adulthood & my honeymoon in New Orleans has definitely made shrimp & grits a favorite for me! It’s one of my go-to recipes when I have guests :)

  11. Jann Olson says:

    Pam, I had never tasted grits until we visited cousins in Ohio. Had some at a cracker barrel and I’m sure that’s not the finest. lol! Didn’t mind them, but last spring I had shrimp and grits in the Carolinas and oh my was it ever delicious! Yours sure do look delicious and I love mushrooms! Thanks for sharing with SYC.

  12. Sandra Garth says:

    My hubby loves grits but I rarely make them because they always turn out a hot mess. Hopefully this recipe will be the one to break my losing streak! Thanks for joining us this week at Celebrate Your Story and sharing your links.

  13. Sylvia D. says:

    Pam, I love your colors. The orange plate is super. I bet I could cook grits in my rice cooker. That is how I cook most any of my grains – red river cereal, rice, quinoa, barley. I will have to try it. Thanks for sharing. Sylvia D.

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