This recipe for dressed-up grits is an adaptation of one in The Florida Cookbook by Jeanne Voltz and Caroline Stuart.

Yield: serves 4


  • 8 slices bacon
  • 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, cored, seeded, and finely chopped
  • 1 cup (about 6 oz.) finely chopped smoked ham
  • 1 (14.5-oz.) can diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 34 cup old-fashioned stone-ground white grits
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper


  1. Fry the bacon in a large skillet over medium heat, turning once, until crisp, about 10 minutes. Transfer the bacon, leaving the drippings in the skillet, to a paper towel–lined plate to let drain and cool. Crumble the bacon into small pieces and set aside.
  2. Reserve about 3 tbsp. of the bacon drippings in the skillet and discard the rest. Reheat the skillet over medium heat, add the onions and the peppers, and cook until the onions are translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the ham and cook, stirring, until the peppers are soft, about 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes (with their juice) along with the garlic. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until most of the moisture has evaporated, about 30 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, bring 3 cups water to a boil in a medium pot. Add grits and salt to taste, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, thick, and creamy, about 30 minutes. Stir in the ham–tomato mixture. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve grits sprinkled with reserved bacon.