Illustration for article titled Turn a Bag of Smartfood Popcorn Into a Bowl of Grits

Photograph: Claire Decrease

Mere days after maligning potato chip mashed potatoes, I’ve logged my glad ass again on to extol the virtues of Smartfood popcorn grits. This may increasingly appear hypocritical, however there’s one key distinction between the 2: the grits are good, whereas the mashed potatoes are dangerous.

I didn’t invent popcorn grits. Anson Mills has a recipe, PBS has a recipe, The Takeout has a recipe, David Chang has a recipe, and—because the Anson Mills web site reminds us—“the primary Native American model of this dish occurred hundreds of years in the past when native folks sand-popped maize after which mashed it into sizzling water in a hollowed-out stone.” So I’m removed from the primary individual to make popcorn grits, however I do assume I’m the primary individual to make it with Smartfood model White Cheddar popcorn, and I do assume I’m sensible.

Like most of my good concepts, Smartfood grits have been born out of laziness. I used to be initially planning to put in writing about popcorn grits as a means to make use of up leftover popcorn, however popcorn is generally air, and it takes a whole mixing bowl price of popped corn to make one bowl of grits, so it wasn’t a good match for a few handfuls of movie-night leftovers.

As an alternative of make a recent batch of popcorn, I made a decision to outsource the labor and purchase a bag of Smartfood, which comes not solely pre-popped, however dusted with an intoxicating, tangy cheese powder. As soon as the bag was acquired, all I needed to do was boil the kernels, mash them via a sieve, then warmth and whisk them with a bit of their cooking water till they appeared like “regular” grits. I didn’t add butter. I didn’t add milk (I by no means add milk to grits). I did add sizzling sauce.

I’ve no regrits. My solely criticism is that they lack the toasted, candy aroma and taste of corn that has been nixtamalized, however they’re nonetheless higher than 80% of the grits I’ve been served in Portland. They’re clean, creamy, corny, and a little tacky, and so they take about 12 minutes to make. If their nixtamal-less nature makes you hesitate to name them “grits,” that’s superb—they’re a wonderful corn-based porridge both means.

make Smartfood popcorn grits


  • 1 giant (6.75-ounce) bag of Smartfood White Cheddar popcorn
  • 3-4 cups of water


Pour the water in a sauce pan and convey to a boil. Set a giant superb mesh sieve over a mixing bowl. Add a handful of popcorn to the boiling water cook dinner till comfortable (10-15 seconds). Utilizing a spider or slotted spoon, switch the mushy popcorn to the sieve. Repeat till you’re out of popcorn. Pressure the cooking water into a separate bowl or giant measuring cup and put aside.

Utilizing a picket spoon or versatile spatula, mash and stir the popcorn to pressure it via the sieve, scraping the underside of the sieve as wanted to coax the grits into the bowl under. Preserve stirring and smooshing till you could have a mass of unpopped kernels and pericarp within the sieve. Return the grits—which is able to look fairly stiff—again to the empty sauce pan and warmth over low to heat. Drizzle some of the cooking water again in whereas whisking till the grits are sizzling, creamy, and clean. Garnish with sizzling sauce and any Smartfood crumbs you left behind within the bag.

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