creamy grits with corn, bacon, and tomatoes

I’ve been playing stay-at-home-mom this week. School starts next Monday, so I took this week off to spend with my kids before the fall chaos begins again. My week has been filled with sticker art, the new Winnie-the-Pooh movie, moving Oliver into his first real bed (a bunk bed!), thoughts of Jennie and her girls, breaking up arguments, donating to the Goodwill, lots of snack time, a little bit of pool time, many time outs, building forts out of cardboard boxes, making pancakes, listening to whining and bickering, organizing and cleaning, lots of cleaning.

These are the little ones who have kept me on my toes all week:

And this little girl has gotten into her fair share of mischief, too. But she’s so cute, it’s hard to get mad at her.

Though the new school year will bring homework, probably more than last year, it will also bring some semblance of routine back into our lives. I’m looking ahead to some busy weeks for all of us in this house but I think we can handle it all. Besides the homework issue, swimming lessons for both kids will resume. I’m headed out of town at the end of next week for a few nights (I’m speaking at a conference), and then I’ll start a busy 2-week stretch of call in the hospital on September 1st.

I wasn’t ready for fall when I posted this a couple of weeks ago, but I think I’m ready now. The summer’s stifling heat and humidity have chased me off my front porch, and I’m ready to get back to my early evening habit of sitting in my rocker with my iPad and a glass of something cool and refreshing, listening to the neighborhood noises.

Though autumn doesn’t technically begin until late in September, I consider this the last week of summer. And to celebrate the arrival of fall – or perhaps to mourn the end of summer – I made a dish combining my favorite comfort food – grits – with fresh tomatoes and corn. A bowl of this is all I need for a complete meal, but it could just as easily be a savory side dish.

What matters most is that there are grits, and grits always make me happy, regardless of season.

Yield: Serves 4 to 6.

Creamy Grits with Corn, Bacon, and Tomatoes

These grits make a great savory side dish or a simple and comforting main dish.


3 cups water
1 cup whole milk
1 cup white stone ground grits
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup fresh corn kernels (approximately 1 ear of corn)
2 medium tomatoes, cored, seeded, and diced
2 slices crisp-cooked bacon, chopped
1 large shallot, finely chopped
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
Kosher salt

Parmesan cheese for garnish (optional)


Bring water and milk just to a simmer in a heavy saucepan. Meanwhile, cover grits with water in a large bowl and whisk vigorously. Let stand for 30 seconds, then, using a fine-mesh sieve, skim off any chaff that has floated to the surface. Drain grits well in the fine-mesh sieve and whisk into the simmering milk.

Reduce heat to low and simmer grits, partially covered, stirring often with a heatproof rubber spatula, about 1 hour, until grits are tender and thickened to loose-oatmeal consistency. Stir more toward the end of cooking to prevent scorching.

While the grits are simmering, heat olive oil in a nonstick skillet. Add corn, tomato, bacon, shallot, crushed red pepper, and a pinch of kosher salt. Stirring occasionally, cook until the shallot is translucent, 2-3 minutes. Add minced garlic and cook until the garlic is fragrant, about 30-60 seconds. Remove from heat and set aside.

When the grits are tender and done simmering, stir in cream, butter, and 1 teaspoon kosher salt. Stir the corn and tomato mixture into the grits, garnish with freshly grated Parmesan cheese, and serve.

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15 Responses to “creamy grits with corn, bacon, and tomatoes”

  1. 1
    Rachel @ Not Rachael Ray — August 19, 2011 @ 3:39 pm

    How nice that you got to spend a week off with your kids. They are beautiful! The grits look delicious, love the toppings you chose!

  2. 2
    Shea Goldstein — August 19, 2011 @ 3:52 pm

    That looks right up my alley, yum!! And your kids are beautiful 🙂

  3. 3
    LiztheChef — August 19, 2011 @ 4:10 pm

    Lovely post – I keep subscribing to your feed via email and don’t get your posts – but see them on fb and twitter easily enough…You are a great friend – and, belatedly, my admiration to you for getting on a plane and DOING SOMETHING for Jennifer when she needed it. XO Liz

  4. 4
    Jenni — August 19, 2011 @ 4:26 pm

    1)I love that you took some time off to hang w/the wee ones!
    2)Your cat is Beautiful.
    3)So are the grits.

    At the restaurant I used to work in, we made grits w/heavy cream and duck fat. Fantastic. Just something to tuck away next time you’re feeling Decadent! 🙂

  5. 5
    Kimmie — August 19, 2011 @ 4:36 pm

    Your kids (both human and furry) are adorable! As a Texan, I love love love anything to do with grits – will definitely try this one out! =)

  6. 6
    Gail — August 19, 2011 @ 4:58 pm

    Grits are the perfect comfort food. For you and for us.

  7. 7
    Kristen — August 19, 2011 @ 4:58 pm

    I think I’m ready too – and your kiddos? So darn cute!

  8. 8
    Paula — August 19, 2011 @ 7:05 pm

    Your week at home sounded like it was just what you needed. The food, the fun, the time-outs and the squabbles…everything that is family…everything that matters.

    Best wishes at the conference, hope the kids (sooo cute) have a great school year and hoping that getting back into the routine at work come without too much difficulty.

    Happy End of Summer. Great looking grits!

  9. 9
    Aggie — August 20, 2011 @ 7:57 am

    I really love that you took the week off. I bet your kids were thrilled to have mommy time ALL day ALL week 🙂 We started school this week and it was like a breath of fresh air. What a nice feeling to be in routine again.

    Your kids are so stinkin adorable. Love those smiles!!

    I am shamelessly admitting that I’ve hardly made grits in my life. Maybe a packet of instant here or there. But the real thing, no. crazy!!! I’ve been dreaming of shrimp and grits for as long as I can remember…and now this. I am loving this.

  10. 10
    Barbara | Creative Culinary — August 20, 2011 @ 10:34 am

    While I’m not ready for summer to end I do look forward to the days cooling off and some of the foods we can look forward to with the start of that cooler weather.

    The southerner in me (yes, 10 yrs in the south counts!) is awakened whenever I hear grits. The addition of corn, tomatoes and bacon? Over the top wonderful.

    Though I sort of expected to see that adorable little cat’s head in the photo of the bowl, yes I did.

  11. 11
    Lana @ Never Enough Thyme — August 20, 2011 @ 10:45 am

    MJ – Your children are just adorable and it’s wonderful that you got to spend a whole week with them before the rush of back-to-school. Enjoy the time while they’re little. It passes so quickly!

    You *know* I love any recipe with grits! They’re just the most comforting thing you can put in your mouth. Love the way you’ve enhanced yours with corn, tomatoes and bacon. Brilliant!

  12. 12
    Brian @ A Thought For Food — August 21, 2011 @ 12:57 am

    You really deserve the Mom of the Year award. You are amazing. Truly.

  13. 13
    Russell at Chasing Delicious — August 21, 2011 @ 1:12 pm

    Such a comforting, delicious looking recipe! It sounds like you’ve had a good week too. I remember when I got my first bunk bed. Makes me miss being a kid. The homework, not so much!

  14. 14
    Karriann Graf — September 6, 2011 @ 3:56 pm

    This looks like a delicious and comforting meal! Happy Cooking!

  15. Pingback: The Merry Gourmet slow-cooker creamy southern grits | the merry gourmet

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