Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Popcorn Grits

Well I managed to stumble my way through my allotted 20 slides, when my turn came up at the City Market Visa Wellington on a Plate event, Pecha Kucha: Imbibe. I won't lie, I was a bunch of nerves standing on stage, all eyes on me, and my slides, mouth dried up, but words managed to flow, I think, although it is a haze, I managed a joke or two, wasn’t booed or humiliated, not suffering from PTSD, in the end it was a lot of fun, and quite proud to be part of the 14 presenters who took to the stage that night. Well on to the regularly scheduled blog post.

I hate waiting for packages, the ten days between seeing “item dispatched” on my orders and the package arriving, I find myself checking the mail daily with growing anticipation followed by soul crushing depression, until it finally turns up. Having a magazine subscription, I get to go through this cycle regularly. The termination of the latest hope-sadness cycle was with Lucky Peach finally landing on my desk, and trying so hard to not to flick through it during work hours, but as soon as I got home I started devouring it page by page.

Flicking my way through the lastest issue, with Americana recipes inspired by the film Diner, which I have ever so vague recollections about, I came across Daniel Patterson's popcorn grits (Lucky Peach, Issue #4, page 83), and I knew I had to make it.

½ cup Popcorn Kernels
¼ cup Oil (something neutral, such as rice bran, rapeseed or canola)
3 cups Water
7 Tablespoons Butter, unsalted
Salt, to taste

  • Over a medium heat, pop the corn in the oil. Be very careful not burn it, sacrifice a few kernels if you have to, but if you burn it, or it smells slightly acrid, bin it.

  • Bring lightly salted water and butter to a simmer.
  • Add a third of the popped corn to the water and simmer for 1 minute.
  • Strain through a sieve, reserving the liquid.
  • Pour the liquid back into the pot, bring back to a simmer.
  • With the back of a spoon press the simmered popped corn through the sieve, scraping the underside into a bowl.
  • Repeat with the other two thirds of the popped corn.

  • Put the purée into a pot loosen with some of the popcorn ‘stock’, I used almost all of mine.
  • Season with salt.
It sounds like it’s a more effort than it actually is, it really only takes a few minutes to prepare, and it’s totally worth it, there’s something odd about eating something with the texture of loose polenta and tasting exactly like buttered popcorn, odd but damn delicious. I sautéed chorizo and field mushrooms to pile on to the grits, spicy earthy flavours to cut through the rich buttery grits.

Corn and mushrooms are pretty good friends on a plate together, corn sweet and nutty, mushrooms earthy and can be meaty and nutty, heck even nature puts it together, and man puts it in a can, à la huitlacoche the fungal infected swollen corn kernels.


  1. Pop corn grits is a new one on me. I'm going to try this recipe out. I'll lets you know how it turned out. great blog. :)

  2. Ooh, I've been wanting to make this. Will have to get onto it once I'm back in NZ! Sounds great with the mushrooms and chorizo too.

    1. you must try, they're very awesome.

  3. The foodie I am, I must try this recipe!

  4. The foodie I am, I must try this recipe!