- Guy Fieri told Insider that he isn’t big on breakfast, but he does love Southern grits.
- I tried the chef’s roasted garlic, jalapeño, and cheese baked grits to see what the hype is about.
- The flavors were amazing, and I can’t wait to make this part of my regular breakfast rotation.
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Guy Fieri isn’t big on breakfast, but there’s one Southern staple that he occasionally enjoys in the morning.
“I probably eat breakfast, maybe twice a month,” Fieri told Insider while promoting his partnership with King’s Hawaiian. “My mom is from North Carolina, so we grew up eating grits, and ham, and red-eye gravy. And that’s like this staple.”
The chef said he always makes sure to have some grits, a porridge made from boiled cornmeal, on hand for family brunches or Sunday football parties with friends.
With this in mind, I decided to try Fieri’s recipe for roasted garlic, jalapeño, and cheese baked grits to see if I should add it to my own breakfast repertoire.
Read on to see how it went.
I was worried I’d failed from the start because my grocery store had the wrong kind of grits
Fieri prefers stone-ground grits, and his cheesy, jalapeño recipe specifically calls for “grits, not quick style.”
Unfortunately, my grocery store only had quick grits, so I had to hope for the best.
The rest of the ingredients were simple enough. I grabbed pepper-jack and cheddar cheeses, a jar of pickled jalapeños, some vegetable stock (his recipe called for chicken stock, but I’m vegetarian), an egg, and a few spices.
The final ingredient was roasted garlic, which I prepared myself by roasting a head in the oven for about 45 minutes. When it was done and cooled – and making my whole kitchen smell incredible – I popped out the cloves and mashed them in a small ramekin.
The cooking process involved just a few simple steps
I love grits, but this was my first time making them myself.
When the recipe said it required multiple hours to make, I was concerned it would be difficult. But luckily it was far easier than I expected.
I started by boiling some vegetable stock and water on the stove. I added in the grits and stirred them frequently for about five minutes until they were thick and the liquid was almost entirely absorbed.
Then, I turned off the heat and added in some butter, stirring until it was completely melted. Next up, I added a beaten egg, which I whisked into the grits vigorously to ensure it didn’t scramble in the hot pot.
After the egg was thoroughly whisked through, I added in the garlic and a lot of cheese – which I shredded myself. Store-bought shredded cheese doesn’t melt as well because it’s often coated in cellulose to keep the shreds from sticking together in the bag.
It took a little arm work to get all that cheese to mix into the grits, but once everything was incorporated, I added the chopped pickled jalapeños, cayenne pepper, and black pepper. Fieri’s recipe called for white pepper, but I opted for black because I already had plenty on hand.
This entire process only ended up taking about 10 minutes.
Once the grits and the added ingredients were combined on the stove, it was time to bake.
I transferred everything to a buttered baking dish and covered it with foil before popping it in the oven at 325 degrees Fahrenheit for about an hour and 10 minutes.
When the timer went off, I checked to make sure the edges hadn’t burned, and then I removed the foil and let it bake for about 10 more minutes.
The grits were golden and smelled delicious, but I was worried about the texture
These grits smelled incredibly cheesy and had a nice golden top with golden-brown edges that were bubbling from the cheese and butter.
I could only hope the texture wouldn’t be mushy since I had to use quick-style grits.
As I cut into the grits, I found they held together really well. The edges were very crisp and took a little extra effort to cut through with my metal spatula, but I was able to pull out entire squares without them falling apart.
I plated the grits with some fresh arugula to help balance all the cheese. I also added some quick-pickled red onion on the side and a couple of extra pickled jalapeños since Fieri is a fan.
“Pickled veggies are just to me the most underutilized ingredient,” he told Insider. “Pickled veggies are my jam.”
I was blown away by the flavor, and I already can’t wait to make this again
The flavor combination was amazing. The grits were softer in the center, with a nice, crispy, cheesy exterior, and the acidity of the pickled onions, jalapeños, and fresh arugula added contrast.
The grits had the slightest heat to them, and I liked that adding the extra jalapeños on top offered even more spiciness.
I think the dish would work well with avocado, sour cream, some fresh tomatoes, and even a fried egg – although that’s certainly not how the chef would eat them given his well-known dislike of eggs.
They turned out far better than I anticipated, and I’m already planning for the next time I’ll make them.
Either way, I’ve found a new favorite breakfast recipe.