Photo: Jennifer Causey; Prop Styling: Ginny Branch Stelling; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall
Marian Cooper Cairns
Fresh corn, creamy goat cheese, and chopped chives make these grits the perfect side dish for any meal. The corn plays up that natural stone-ground taste of the buttermilk grits, and the fresh French feel of goat cheese and chives elevates it to the next level. Your guests are sure to be impressed! These grits were inspired by the extraordinary artisan grits made by Jim Barkley’s mill, Barkley’s Mill, in North Carolina. For his stone-ground grits, Barkley uses vintage gristmills that were refurbished and placed in a pristine millhouse at Barkley’s Mill, and the beauty of these old machines is more than stone-deep. Grinding between the vertical stones of the gristmills keeps the corn from overheating during the milling process, protecting the integrity of the whole grain. The freshly ground grits are scooped by hand into cloth sacks, tied closed, and chilled. Those who appreciate corn grits know that this specially crafted flavor is worth every penny! Grits go well with just about any Southern meal, at any time of day, on any holiday, or with any dish. Simmering until creamy and thickened is the key to the texture of perfectly cooked grits, and adding butter towards the end ensures epic flavor.
Bring 4 cups water, 1 cup whole milk, and 1 1⁄4 tsp. kosher salt to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium-high. Gradually whisk in 1 cup uncooked stone-ground grits; return to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until creamy and thickened, 25 to 30 minutes. Stir 2 cups fresh corn kernels (about 4 ears) into grits during last 5 minutes of cooking.
Remove from grits heat, and stir in 3⁄4 cup whole buttermilk, 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter, 4 oz. chèvre (goat cheese), crumbled (about 1⁄2 cup), and 1⁄3 cup chopped fresh chives into warm grits just before serving.