Grits with Eggs and Red Sauce

Many years ago I came across a recipe for grits with eggs and a red sauce. It was similar to shakshuska, a Middle Eastern dish of baked eggs in red sauce, shown below, but with grits!

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I never had grits until my husband and I visited Charleston, South Carolina, for business a long time ago. We ate at a lovely restaurant And I hesitantly ordered shrimp with grits. I think I assumed grits would be too “corny” for me, but they’re not. They’re lovely, and just as much fun to cook as risotto. Below are pumpkin grits I made last fall. So many variations are possible.

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For grits, I prefer the coarse-grained variety, which do take longer to cook, but I prefer the texture. I’ve noticed that the words “polenta” and “grits” are both on the package now!

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There used to be much confusion about the difference, but there is no difference. To make it more complicated, grits and polenta are also cornmeal.

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Grits with Eggs in Red Sauce
Adapted from Baked Eggs in Creamy Polenta and Pepperoni Tomato Sauce

3 cups water
3 tablespoons butter
1 cup grits
Approximately 1/2 cup cream
Red Sauce
4 tablespooons butter
4 eggs
Goat or feta cheese, optional

Place the water and butter in a deep pot over high heat. When the water boils, add the grits.

Stir, and continue to stir, with the heat on medium. I always have about a cup of water handy to add to the grits as they thicken. It seems that more liquid is required than what is stated on the package recipe.

After about 10 minutes or so, when the grits have cooked about halfway, add cream. Continue to cook the grits, and add even more water if necessary.

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When you feel the grits aren’t thickening up anymore, set them aside.

Make the eggs sunny-side up, over-easy, poached, or soft-boiled. It’s your choice. I used 1 tablespoon of butter per egg and cooked them sunny-side up in a skillet. Add a little dab of butter right before they’re fully cooked.

To serve, spoon the grits into a pasta bowl.

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Place some heated red sauce over the grits and, using a spoon, form a hole in the middle.

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Then place the cooked egg in the hole along with any butter from the skillet.

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Crumble some goat cheese and sprinkle on top.

You can also add chopped chives or parsley.

It’s a wonderful and hearty breakfast, but I’d certainly eat this for dinner as well!

If you wanted to bake the eggs in the grits, like in the original recipe, you must use an oven-proof serving dish or prepare all four servings in a skillet.

But I would make sure that the grits are first on the runny side. They will thicken – especially in the oven.

By Published On: March 15th, 201667 Comments

About the Author: Chef Mimi

As a self-taught home cook, with many years in the culinary profession, I am passionate about all things food-related. Especially eating!

67 Comments

  1. SweetRevelations March 15, 2016 at 7:12 AM - Reply

    I love any egg dish. This looks so good! I’ve only had grits when visiting the Southern States as well. Might have to give this one a try!
    Renee

    • chef mimi March 15, 2016 at 10:58 AM - Reply

      I guess we’ve all had them in the South! Fortunately I had a good experience. I was worried about liking them because as much as I like corn, I’m more fond of flour tortillas then corn tortillas. But grits can be so so good!!!

  2. Linda Duffin March 15, 2016 at 7:22 AM - Reply

    That looks great. I’ve only had grits once, in Virginia, and I hated them (it was breakfast) but I love polenta. Maybe they were just badly cooked? I didn’t realise they were the same thing.

    • chef mimi March 15, 2016 at 10:57 AM - Reply

      Maybe because they aren’t that appealing for breakfast? Unless the way I made them with the other goodies. And depending how long ago you had them, they might have just been cooked in water and served plain. Ugh. Fortunately, trends in “gourmet” cooking have turned them into something more appealing and sophisticated!

      • Linda Duffin March 15, 2016 at 11:28 AM

        It was some years ago. The grits I had were very bland so yes, perhaps you’re right and they’d been cooked plain. Yours, on the other hand, look and sound delicious.

  3. thesinglegourmetandtraveller March 15, 2016 at 7:32 AM - Reply

    We always say polenta in UK and I only fairly recently discovered it was the same as your grits! I love them and this would be a great supper dish.

    • chef mimi March 15, 2016 at 10:55 AM - Reply

      Yes, it’s all cornmeal. Cheesy grits/polenta are so great topped with steak or shrimp!

  4. Nadia March 15, 2016 at 7:41 AM - Reply

    Funny how in the US grits are a breakfast disn whereas in Europe, polenta (grits) is a dinner dish. This sounds great but I would eat it for lunch or dinner.

    • chef mimi March 15, 2016 at 10:54 AM - Reply

      I think grits were originally eaten in the South for breakfast as a porridge, mostly because it was available and inexpensive, but that’s no longer the case. When I first had them it was a dinner dish. Don’t Italians also eat polenta for breakfast? I can’t remember…

      • Nadia March 15, 2016 at 11:10 AM

        No, they do not.

  5. Hungrycookie March 15, 2016 at 7:46 AM - Reply

    Yum that looks delicious. A different way of eating eggs!

    • chef mimi March 15, 2016 at 10:53 AM - Reply

      Yes – nice and hearty! It would make a wonderful brunch dish as well…

  6. cookinginsens March 15, 2016 at 8:23 AM - Reply

    Delicious idea.

  7. eliotthecat March 15, 2016 at 8:35 AM - Reply

    I have some homemade Harissa sauce that would be great with these eggs and grits.

  8. thecompletebook March 15, 2016 at 9:03 AM - Reply

    Sounds fabulous Mimi. I wonder if your grits would be the same as our rough textured corn meal?
    Have a super day.
    :-) Mandy xo

    • chef mimi March 15, 2016 at 10:52 AM - Reply

      They’re exactly the same – you can get a finer grind or a coarser one, but it’s all corn meal!

  9. The Gourmet Gourmand March 15, 2016 at 11:04 AM - Reply

    Oh wow, this looks to die for. I love grits! This looks like my new personal favorite brunch recipe… :)

  10. Gerlinde de Broekert March 15, 2016 at 11:07 AM - Reply

    Many years ago I was outside of Madison Georgia when I asked a waitress in a local diner, what is grits? She turned around laughing pointing at me saying to the people in the diner, this lady wants to know what is grits?
    Your dish looks great and I love polenta. I am experimenting with soaking the polenta before cooking it. Have a great week.

    • chef mimi March 15, 2016 at 11:12 AM - Reply

      My, and I thought Southerners were supposed to be polite! That’s so rude. I have soaked cornmeal and even oatmeal or cereal grain combinations to boost the hydration time. It works well!

  11. Elaine @ foodbod March 15, 2016 at 11:21 AM - Reply

    Lovely! I still haven’t got to grips with polenta, I must have another go :)

    • chef mimi March 19, 2016 at 9:58 AM - Reply

      Is it the flavor?

      • Elaine @ foodbod March 19, 2016 at 10:02 AM

        Not wholly, I tried cooking some and it seemed very bland. I think I need to try out some of the lovely recipes I read and add some flavour :)

      • chef mimi March 19, 2016 at 10:17 AM

        That makes sense because it is bland. That’s why I add butter and cheese!

      • Elaine @ foodbod March 19, 2016 at 10:23 AM

        I think I need to add some spices!

      • chef mimi March 19, 2016 at 10:43 AM

        That sounds good!

  12. annascuisine March 15, 2016 at 11:44 AM - Reply

    This is something different; definitely great to have for breakfast. I might give it a try tomorrow. I have all the ingredients, except the goat cheese. I might just add any shredded cheese and melt it in the oven and use Korean red pepper sauce. Thanks for sharing. :)

    • chef mimi March 15, 2016 at 4:15 PM - Reply

      It sounds wonderful! I love tapatio with eggs also!!!

      • annascuisine March 15, 2016 at 10:15 PM

        I haven’t tried tapatio hot sauce. Is the consistency the same as tabasco or more like ketchup?

      • chef mimi March 16, 2016 at 2:17 PM

        In between – it’s not as liquid as Tabasco. It has a fuller flavor, to me. It is almost like a thinned ketchup consistency.

  13. Tasty Eats Ronit Penso March 15, 2016 at 1:15 PM - Reply

    As much as I know grits and polenta are made from different types of corn, though I love both equally.
    Your dish looks like the best comfort food brunch there is! :)

    • chef mimi March 15, 2016 at 4:08 PM - Reply

      Do you know what they are? I only thought there was one major variety of corn!!

      • Tasty Eats Ronit Penso March 15, 2016 at 4:56 PM

        No, there are way more than one variety of corn used, and they can differ in color (some are red or blue!) as well as size and texture.

        I’ve found this quote (link follows): “Most grits in the South are traditionally made from a class of corn called dent corn whereas in Italy, most polenta is made from a class of corn called flint corn, which holds its texture better.”
        http://www.thekitchn.com/polenta-versus-grits-whats-the-difference-187807

      • chef mimi March 16, 2016 at 2:25 PM

        I wonder if you could tell the difference Ina blind taste test?

      • Tasty Eats Ronit Penso March 16, 2016 at 5:10 PM

        I’m not that much of a connoisseur of either grits or polenta, so I doubt I could. But I’m quite sure that people who eat either on a daily basis probably could.

      • chef mimi March 16, 2016 at 8:08 PM

        Interesting! And I thought it was all ground corn!! This is why I read blogs!!!

      • Tasty Eats Ronit Penso March 16, 2016 at 9:04 PM

        I agree, there’s always something new to learn! :)

  14. Cooking For The Time Challenged March 15, 2016 at 3:37 PM - Reply

    Wow! It looks great! Great combination!

  15. ChgoJohn March 15, 2016 at 5:31 PM - Reply

    A great dish, Mimi and you solved our question. The last time I made this dish — we call it “Eggs in Purgatory” — both Zia and I commented that it would be good served over polenta. Now I can tell her that I’ve evidence that yes, indeed, that it is very tasty atop polenta. We both thank you. :)

    • chef mimi March 16, 2016 at 2:19 PM - Reply

      Yes, they definitely are good this way!!!

  16. anotherfoodieblogger March 15, 2016 at 6:41 PM - Reply

    Oh yum yum yum! Grits, tomato sauce and eggs. Perfection! Great recipe, Mimi!

  17. apuginthekitchen March 15, 2016 at 7:38 PM - Reply

    I love grits and to me they taste different from cornmeal or polenta, less corny maybe because I get the Quacker grits and they are white unlike polenta. Your dish is wonderful, I love the red sauce and runny egg. It’s a perfect breakfast or meal any time of day.

    • chef mimi March 16, 2016 at 2:18 PM - Reply

      I would bet the white corn grits taste differently! I’ll have to look for them!

  18. A Famished Foodie March 16, 2016 at 8:06 AM - Reply

    This looks delicious! I adore grits. It’s great to eat them with something other than shrimp and play with the flavor.

    • chef mimi March 16, 2016 at 2:18 PM - Reply

      Agreed! This recipe would be good made with a Southwestern twist!

  19. Julie is Hostess At Heart March 16, 2016 at 11:02 PM - Reply

    This dish would keep you satisfied all day long!

  20. Abbe Odenwalder March 16, 2016 at 11:26 PM - Reply

    Can’t wait to try this one Mimi! I love me some grits!

  21. Jeff the Chef March 17, 2016 at 10:10 PM - Reply

    This sounds so delicious! And I love the colors. I’ll bet the textures are fantastic. Did you say that I can use regular cornmeal for this?

    • chef mimi March 18, 2016 at 8:38 AM - Reply

      Absolutely! It’s all ground corn, and I really prefer the coarser grind.

  22. StefanGourmet March 18, 2016 at 2:26 AM - Reply

    LOL. I wasn’t expecting this to be a breakfast dish until all the way to the end. And I should know better after just having been to the US for a week. I was surprised when I got fried potatoes with the Eggs Benedict I had ordered for breakfast when we were staying at a hotel that did not serve breakfast and we went out because I do need to eat something in the morning.
    Anyway, nice dish!

  23. Sue Marquis Bishop March 18, 2016 at 10:22 PM - Reply

    Your presentation is always striking! šŸ˜Š

  24. Cocoa & Lavender March 19, 2016 at 9:21 AM - Reply

    What a wonderful dish! I can easily see having this for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

  25. The Hungry Mum March 19, 2016 at 10:40 PM - Reply

    what a comforting meal. It is cold and rainy in Sydney and this would be perfect for dinner.

  26. Frank Fariello March 20, 2016 at 8:22 AM - Reply

    Look delightful! As you may know, Italians make uova in purgatorio, eggs simmered in tomato sauce, as a second course, but this dish is one-dish meal!

  27. dishinwithdidi March 27, 2016 at 5:35 AM - Reply

    That is where I tried “my” first grits too Mimi, in the Carolina’s and just like you I had shrimp ‘n grits. And girl, I’ve been hooked since. Your version with red sauce made me drool this am. I certainly would eat them for dinner too!

    • chef mimi March 27, 2016 at 7:52 AM - Reply

      Me, too! And it’s a very satisfying meal!

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