Corn grits are a staple across western Georgia, where you’re likely to find them piled on a plate with slices of smoked sulguni cheese sticking up from their depths like sharks’ fins. In Georgian, plains grits are called ghomi, while grits with cheese mixed in are elarji. I love serving them with Spiced Meatballs and Pomegranate Gravy, shishkebabs of any sort, or garlicky roasted chicken.
Smoked Cheese Grits (Elarji)
Serves about 6 people
3 cups water
3 cups whole milk
½ tsp. salt (or ¾ tsp. if you are using mozzarella instead of gouda)
1 1/2 cups coarse-ground white corn (hominy) grits (not quick-cooking or instant)
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1 cup smoked gouda or smoked mozzarella cheese, grated
- In a medium saucepan, bring water, milk, and salt to a boil. Add the corn grits in a steady stream, whisking continuously to prevent lumps from forming.
- Reduce the heat to low and continue to cook, whisking frequently, for 10-15 minutes, until all the liquid is absorbed and the grits are thick and soft. Remove from heat.
- Stir in the butter and grated cheese until melted. Serve hot.
Grits can be made in advance and reheated. Store them in the fridge for up to one week and in the freezer for up to 6 months.
3 thoughts on “Smoked Cheese Grits”
Jenny, we’ve been making a bit of Moldovan Mămăligă lately (a polenta-like porridge, made with maize flour and served with two types of cheese) and your recipe reminded me of it. Since this is naturally gluten-free, I’d love to give the recipe a whirl. The spices in the accompanying meatballs sound wonderfully exotic too!
They call this dish mamalyga in Russian as well. I love eating it during the cold winter months!
I have tasted both, and can assure you elarji and mamalyga are entirely different dishes. Comparing them is It’s like comparing melons with watermelons…