Recipe courtesy of Karen Barker and Ben Barker

"Dixie Polenta" (I.e., Creamy Roasted Garlic Grits)

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  • Yield: Serves 8
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1 cup coarse, old-fashioned stone-ground grits

1 quart chicken stock

1 tablespoon salt

1/4 cup Roasted Garlic Puree, recipe follows

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/4 cup grated Parmesan or Sonoma Dry Jack cheese

1/4 cup half-and-half (or more to taste)

Salt and black pepper to taste

Roasted Garlic Puree

4 heads garlic, separated into cloves, unpeeled (do not use elephant garlic)

2 bay leaves (optional)

Olive oil


  1. In a 2- or 3-quart saucepan, heat the chicken stock over high heat until boiling. Add the salt, stir in the grits, and return to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer 30 to 40 minutes, stirring frequently until thickened. 
  2. Stir in the roasted garlic puree, butter, and cheese until incorporated. Stir in the half-and-half and adjust the seasoning. Transfer to a double boiler and keep warm until ready to serve.

Roasted Garlic Puree

Yield: 1 to 2 cups
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Toss the garlic with the bay leaves and enough olive oil to coat thoroughly. Transfer to an ovenproof pan large enough to hold the garlic in one layer and cover tightly with foil. Bake for 30 to 45 minutes, until the garlic is soft and aromatic. Cool slightly. 
  2. Pass the cloves through the fine blade of a food mill or press them through a strainer and then transfer the puree to a container. Cool completely, cover with a thin film of olive oil, and seal the container. Refrigerate until needed. 

Cook’s Note

Roasted garlic puree keeps indefinitely, refrigerated, if covered with a thin film of olive oil

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