True Grit or Countrified Polenta?

October 19, 2011

Grits – a cornmeal based porridge
Polenta – a cornmeal based porridge

So what’s the difference?
Polenta – Cook 1 cup (cornmeal) in 4 cups of water, broth or milk. The courser the grain, the more tender (and classic) the polenta. Stir or whisk often while cooking slowly over med low heat for about 20 mins. You can pour into a greased pan to cool, an cut into shapes to pan fry. Or serve as you would mashed potatoes. Add seasonings or cheese as you feel fit.

Grits – Polenta – Cook 1 cup coarse cornmeal in 3 cups of water, broth or milk. . Stir or whisk often while cooking slowly over med low heat for about 15 – 20 mins. You can pour into a greased pan to cool, an cut into shapes to pan fry. Or serve as you would mashed potatoes. Add seasonings or cheese as you feel fit or top with red eye gravy.

Grits are a native American food. Polenta is dated back to Roman times, and originally was made with such starches as farro, chestnut flour, millet, spelt or chickpeas. Once the New World existed – the transition was made to the newly found corn.

So isn’t it the same thing? Well Anson Mills clarifies on its website saying the difference is in the corn itself:

“Dent or Flint?
Corn is classified by the type of starch (endosperm) in its kernels. The premier mill corn of the American South, known as dent (the name derives from the dent that forms on the top of each kernel as it dries), has a relatively soft, starchy center. Dent corn makes easy work of milling–it also makes phenomenal grits.

“Flint corn, by contrast, has a hard, starchy endosperm and produces grittier, more granular meal that offers an outstanding mouth feel when cooked. One type of American flint–indigenous to the Northeast–was, and remains, the traditional choice for Johnny cakes.
In Italy, flint has been the preeminent polenta corn since the 16th century when Spanish and Portuguese treasure hunters brought Caribbean flint to the Piedmont on ships.”

A true southerner knows the difference of grits over polenta, as does a true Roman know his polenta over Southern grits. For most of us – we can interchange one for the other. For Alton Brown – well see what he had to say here….
http://www.goodeatsfanpage.com/season8/grits/true_grit_trans.htm

If you dislike both, well then, “you can kiss my grits!” – Flo of Alice’s Diner

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2 Responses to “True Grit or Countrified Polenta?”

  1. Blayze Says:

    Excellent post. I am dealing with many of these issues
    as well..

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