Recipe: Buttermilk Cheese Grits

Shies Cheese Grits

Buttermilk Cheese Grits with Shiso

Cheese Grits are the traditional accompaniment to braised short ribs but when they’re made with lots of butter the net effect is just too heavy and fatty. So I cut the fat with buttermilk and added some shiso leaves for contrasting bitterness. Serves 4-6.

1 c polenta or yellow or white corn grits
3 c water (approximate)
1 c buttermilk
2 T butter
½ c or more grated sharp cheddar cheese (variations welcome as long as the cheese has some personality to it)
1 t salt
½ t ground pepper (black or white)
2 T or more shiso, basil, mint or other bitter herb, chiffonade

Method: Bring 2 c water to boil with salt and add polenta. Simmer until it begins to thicken then add butter, cheese and pepper. When cheese is melted add buttermilk. Watch closely and stir frequently as the mixture continues to thicken. Taste after 5 minutes or so to confirm the grits are smooth and flavorful, not at all crunchy. Add more water/buttermilk/cheese/seasoning if you like and continue simmering.

Finished grits should be thick enough to stick to spoon instead of dripping off, but not thicker; they will continue to thicken a bit after you turn off the heat. Just before you serve, mix in the shredded bitter herbs.

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