Souffleed Stone-Ground Grits with aged Cheddar Cheese From Justin Devillier of La Petite Grocery - Grits can be prepared simply-just ground corn, salt, and butter­but they become transcendent when given an elevated treatment. In this recipe, Justin Devillier, the chef/owner of La Petite Grocery in New Orleans, puts a French spin on the Southern classic. He uses the traditional French technique of incorporating whipped egg whites to add volume-this same method is used to puff up souffies. Devillier then folds in aged cheddar to spread extra flavor evenly throughout the grits.
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SERVINGS
6-8

 
 
 

INGREDIENTS

I cup whole milk 
¼ cup unsalted butter 
I teaspoon plus a pinch of salt 
Pinch of freshly ground black pepper 
I cup stone-ground grits 
2 cups grated aged white cheddar cheese 
4 large eggs, separated 

 

HOW TO MAKE IT

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Combine 2 cups water, the milk, butter, 1 teaspoon salt, and the pepper in a 4-quart cast-iron cocotte. Place over medium-high heat and heat until it is steaming but not quite boiling. Add the grits in a slow, steady stream while whisking to prevent lumps from forming. Once all of the grits are in, bring to a boil, then immediately reduce the heat to low. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 20 minutes, until the grits are thickened enough to stick to the spoon but not the bottom of the pot. Add the cheese and fold it in to incorporate. Remove from the heat. 
  2. Place the egg whites into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Add a pinch of salt and whisk on high speed until stiff peaks form. Fold the egg yolks into the warm grits. Add one-quarter of the egg whites and use a spatula to very gently fold them into the grits. Add the remaining whites and fold to combine. If you are using mini cocottes, pour the mixture into the 6 to 8 cocottes, leaving an inch at the top for the souffle to rise. Bake for 45 minutes for the large cocotte and 30 minutes for the minis, or until puffed up, golden brown on top, and the aroma of toasted cheddar fills the kitchen. 
    Serve warm.