Grits are definitely not something I grew up eating. No, I grew up in the land of diners and small independent pizza places around every corner. Stephen on the other hand, grew up in the land of biscuits and grits. I had never even tried grits until my first visit to Nashville in 2003. We went to a diner that is apparently famous for such things and I got myself a bowl of grits. With butter. And I was really not impressed. I ate a few spoonfuls and quickly stopped.
I didn’t end up trying grits again until we moved to Boston and tried a southern/rustic French restaurant that served cheddar and garlic grits. Now, this might be because I’m sort of a cheeseaholic, but the grits were amazing! I don’t know if adding cheese instead of butter goes against some sort of grits philosophy, but I am now 100% on board with flavorful cheesy grits. In fact, the bolder the flavor the better. So I knew when I saw this recipe in the Feast cookbook that it’d be right up my alley. Cheesy grits with black beans, avocado, and Pico de Gallo? Yes, please!
If you already have some homemade or store bought Pico de Gallo in your fridge this meal is super fast to pull together. And it’s not hard even if you don’t. Though the grits can be a little heavy, the bean, avocado, and Pico de Gallo make this feel like a light meal, perfect for spring.
- 1¾ cups whole milk (it's fine to use 1 or 2%)
- 1¼ cups water
- Sea salt
- ¾ cups quick cooking grits
- One 15-oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter
- 3 oz extra sharp white cheddar cheese or a sharp aged gouda or manchego
- 1 firm, ripe, avocado, peeled, pitted, and chopped
- Pico de Gallo (preferably homemade)
- Add the milk, 1 cup of the water, and ¾ teaspoon sea salt to a large pot over medium high heat. Bring to a boil and then slowly whisk in the grits. Reduce heat to medium-low and continue to cook, whisking occasionally, for about 10 minutes, or until the grits are cooked and there are no more lumps.
- While you're doing this, heat the beans with ¼ cup water in a small pan. Heat just until the beans are saucy.
- Remove the grits from the stove and whisk in the cheese and butter. Taste and add any additional seasonings as you see fit.
- Spoon the grits into shallow bowls and top with beans, chopped avocado, and Pico de Gallo.