Chef Daniel Patterson puts a unique spin on traditional corn grits with this recipe that starts with popcorn kernels and ends with a delicious side dish.
- Popcorn Kernels
- In a large pot, heat a generous amount of vegetable oil to smoking. Add a thin but complete layer of kernels, cover, and shake the pot a few times until you hear the corn starting to pop. Lower the heat to medium-high, shaking often so there are no hotspots. When the popping slows to a trickle, remove the pot from the heat and let it stand one minute. Uncover and pour the popcorn into a bowl, watching for any burnt pieces on the bottom, which should be discarded.
- Bring a few cups of water, a few spoonfuls of butter and some salt to a simmer. Throw in a big handful of popcorn, simmer 30 seconds to a minute, until the corn is softened, and strain through a fine mesh sieve. Transfer the liquid back to the pot, and bring to a simmer. Add more popcorn. Repeat until all the corn is gone. Add water as necessary, although there shouldn’t be too much extra.
- Press the cooked corn through a medium strainer basket, discarding the hulls and seeds that cannot be pushed through. Transfer the passed corn, which will look like stiff grits, into a pot. Add the reserved cooking liquid, which should be slightly thickened from the corn starch, and taste like popcorn. Add butter and more water as necessary to make a grits-like texture – we find that slightly on the thicker side is better. Serve with a bowl of buttered popcorn on the side.