Andrew Carmellini's Green Grits

Andrew Carmellini's Green Grits

[Photograph: Quentin Bacon]

According to Andrew Carmellini's new cookbook American Flavor, his Northern upbringing doesn't exactly give him license to mess around with a Southern staple like grits. But lucky for us, he decided to go ahead and tackle them anyway.

In his recipe for Green Grits, Carmellini treats them in a similar fashion to polenta or risotto, using the grain as a jumping off point for a satisfying side that's filled with fresh herbs, cheese, and yes, plenty of butter.

The green here comes from scallions, cilantro, and bright and spicy canned green chiles all buzzed together before being stirred into the creamy grits. Once finished with a few more tablespoons of butter, grated cheddar and Parmesan, these grits great with just about anything from fried eggs and bacon for breakfast to pulled pork or even chili later on in the day.

Adapted from American Flavor by Andrew Carmellini. Copyright © 2011. Published by Ecco. Available wherever books are sold. All Rights Reserved

  • Yield:serves 4 to 6 as a side dish
  • Active time: 15 minutes
  • Total time:25 minutes


  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
  • 1 cup grits
  • 1 heaping cup fresh cilantro leaves
  • One 4-ounce can diced green chiles (preferably Hatch brand, fire-roasted)
  • 6 green onions, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese 


  1. 1.

    Combine the milk and 21/2 cups of water in a medium-sized pot, and bring the mixture up to a simmer over medium-high heat. 

  2. 2.

    Mix in the salt and pepper. Then whisk in the grits, pouring them in slowly and whisking continuously until they’re smooth, with no lumps. The grits should look a little like oatmeal, only finer. 

  3. 3.

    Turn the heat down to medium-low and keep cooking, whisking regularly so nothing sticks. 

  4. 4.

    Meanwhile, combine the cilantro leaves, diced green chiles, and green onions in a food processor and pulse for 30 seconds or so, until everything is finely chopped. 

  5. 5.

    When the grits have cooked through and thickened, pull the pot off the heat and add the cilantro mixture. Whisk everything together so the grits turn green. Then add the butter and whisk again, so the butter melts in. 

  6. 6.

    Whisk in the grated cheddar and Parmesan cheeses. Serve it up hot.