Paula’s Tomato Grits

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Makes

    6 to 8


Appears in

The Glory of Southern Cooking

The Glory of Southern Cooking

By James Villas

Published 2007

  • About

Nobody has done more to promote the cause of authentic Southern cookery than Paula Deen, who, with her brother and two sons, owns and operates The Lady & Sons restaurant in Savannah, Georgia. The restaurant’s groaning buffet features everything from fried chicken and barbecued ribs to collard greens with pot likker and Paula’s legendary hoe cakes, but at least for me, the most sensational (and unusual) dish are these luscious tomato grits sparked with tiny green chiles. The grits should remain moist and creamy, so check them with a spoon after about 30 minutes to make sure they aren’t drying out.


  • 2 cups water
  • cups milk
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup quick-cooking grits
  • 9 tablespoons (1 stick plus 1 tablespoon) butter
  • 2 scallions (white parts only), thinly sliced
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • One 10-ounce can diced tomatoes and green chiles, drained


Preheat the oven to 350°F.

In a large saucepan, combine the water, milk, and salt and bring to a boil. Gradually add the grits and stir constantly for 1 minute. Reduce the heat to moderately low, cover, and cook 3 minutes. Add 8 tablespoons of the butter, stir till melted, cover, and cook till the grits are thick and creamy, about 4 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat.

In a small skillet, melt the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter over moderate heat, add the scallions, and stir till softened, about 1 minute. Add the scallions to the grits along with the garlic powder and cups of the cheese and stir till the cheese melts. Add the tomatoes and chiles, stir till well blended, scrape the mixture into a shallow buttered 2-quart baking dish, and bake for 30 minutes. Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top and continue baking till golden, about 10 minutes. Serve piping hot.