27 September 2010

Grits a Ya-Ya

Ingredients don't scare me. Typically. I'm talking about butter, and cream, and salt, and meat, and fat. And butter and cream. None of those ingredients scare me. I cook with all of the above. There is a reason foods that contain lots of those ingredients taste good. There is a reason that food at restaurants taste good. Because they pump your shit full of salt and butter and cream. And there is good reason that when you try to imitate those restaurant foods, it isn't quite the same. Because we are scared to add that much salt and butter and cream.

I'm not claiming to know what I'm talking about, but really, doesn't it make sense?

I'm willing to bet that each of you have a couple of favorite restaurant dishes. I'm also willing to bet that you never, EVER want to know how they are made. Because your scared.

I'm an exception. I'm not scared of finding out what is in my food. I want to know how to make it, because I want to make it at home for less money. Please note, that I do not always find the need to make it healthier. In some cases, that works, cutting back on oils and butters without compromising too much flavor. But for about 95% of the time, I want to eat it the way it tastes best...even if that means a couple of sticks of butter.

I don't believe a couple of sticks of butter will kill me. However, a couple of sticks of butter A DAY might. I'm a firm believer in moderation. I eat what I love, just not the entire batch of it. (Most of the time at least)

What I've been getting at here are these grits. Grits a Ya-Ya. Discovering them at The Fish House in Pensacola, Florida I didn't fully appreciate them right away. Then a month or so later we went to their sister restaurant next door, the Atlas Oyster House and I ordered a side of smoked gouda grits. And then it hit me. These. Are. Fucking. Amazing.

It hit me, and then I looked up the recipe and then it it me again. What the....oh dear god...Holy crap that is a lot of cheese/butter/cream. Even for me, it was a lot. A lot, A lot. Like, I gained 23 lbs reading the recipe a lot. Wow. My second thought after reading the recipe, "This is going to be amazing"!!!

So I did what any good foodie would do. I bought the ingredients and I made it. I didn't cut back on a thing. In fact, I may have even thrown in an extra palm full of cheese for good measure. That's just the type of gal I am. What? Only 400lbs of cheese... better add some more!

So how did it come out you wonder? Amazing. Smokey Gouda-y and buttery and salty amazing.

If you want to try it, I suggest going to the Fish House/Oyster House or asking me to make it for you. And don't watch. It could ruin it for you. Just enjoy it, cause it's wonderful.

And if your really sick and twisted, below is the recipe. But remember, I warned you!

Grits a Ya Ya
Printable Recipe
by Jim Shirley

Smoked Gouda Cheese Grits

  • 1 quart of chicken stock
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 pound Dixie Lily grits
  • 1/4 pound shredded smoked Gouda cheese

The Ya Ya

  • 8 strips of applewood-smoked bacon, diced
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon minced shallots
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • White wine
  • 1 pound peeled and deveined jumbo shrimp
  • 1 portobello mushroom cap, sliced
  • 1/4 cup diced scallions
  • 2 cups chopped fresh spinach
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 3 cups smoked Gouda cheese grits
  • Salt, pepper and hot sauce to taste
  1. First, make your grits. Run the chicken stock into a thick-bottomed saucepan and turn on high til it boils.
  2. Mix in the grits and stir like crazy. Reduce to a simmer and allow to cook 40 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add cream if you need more liquid.
  3. Then tumble in the butter, drizzle in the rest of the cream and stir till it's all in the family. Then shake in the shredded cheese and stir very well till it's all nice and smooth.
  4. While your grits cook, bring a large saucepan to medium heat. Add bacon and cook for about 3 minutes, then add garlic and shallots.
  5. Saute and then add butter and a splash of white wine.
  6. When the butter is half-melted, add the shrimp. When the downsides of the shrimp become white, flip them and add mushrooms, scallions and spinach. Saute for 2 minutes.
  7. Remove the shrimp, Pour in heavy cream and let simmer while stirring. When reduced by one third, add salt, pepper and hot sauce.
  8. Return shrimp to the sauce and combine. Spoon the sauce and shrimp onto heaping mounds of cheese grits.
  9. Die from ridiculous goodness.


  1. A gal after my own heart. I too cook with the good stuf...including REAL lard from hertitage breed pigs (not that hydroginated stuff that'll kill ya). Makes all the difference in the world. I don't typically like grits but this does sound amazing :)Thanks for sharing!

  2. Candace,
    Mmmm....real lard from real pigs! There's not many people in the world that would get excited about that, but you found one of them!

    I totally believe in eating whatever you want, but eating the real stuff. It totally makes a difference.

    I don't usually go for plain grits, but you can add anything to them, I use them like any other grain, a pasta or rice. Add as much as you want. And keep in mind that Grit's love Cheese.

  3. My husband and I stopped at the Fish House in Pensacola (on our way to Orlando) after a recommendation from a friend. I had the Grits a Ya Ya...and they are as good as you describe. I wanted to pick up my plate and lick it clean! This is definately a "special occasion" dish, though, because of all the butter & cream & fat & goodness. It would be great for a ladies' brunch.

  4. Glad you tried it! Now you know that you NEED to recreate this at sometime...just give it a while in between...

  5. The Fish House is our favorite restaurant, and Grits-a-YaYa is my wife's all time favorite dish. I have tried to make it for her and got pretty close from just memory. Thanks for the recipe.

  6. Terrific! Good luck with it!

  7. My parents go down to Gulf Shores every year for a few months and they always go to the Fish House at least once so my dad can get his Grits a Ya Ya fix. I googled the recipe and the first one I clicked on had a picture of the smoked gouda I bypassed at Meijer that said in small letters "Pasteurized Cheese Product". EEWWW! THanks for the recipe, I'm going to try it out tomorrow for my son and I, so I can perfect it for my dad! And yes, I'll use the cream!

  8. Dianne,
    Let me know how it comes out! I really need to make this again, but my thighs are already rubbing together and I'm not sure if this will help. But it will sure make me feel good!

  9. It was fabulous and amazing! I could not find anything but quick grits so I used medium grind yellow cornmeal, and I had to add a little more liquid-I used homemade chicken stock and half & half-but it was very very good. Used the leftover cheesy grits last night with some homemade tomato-onion-wine sauce and meatballs, and it was really good with that as well. May just be my new pasta!

  10. Sorry, that was me again, not anonymous!

  11. YAY!!!!!

    Personally, I love it cold for breakfast also! :)

  12. Here is a slightly different recipe for if you just want to have the grits by themselves, this is the way they are made when you order them as a side. The recipe is from the Fish House website. I leave out the corn and add real bacon pieces or a 1/2 lb. of bacon crumbled.


  13. Awesome! Thanks so much Lacey!