My favorite section of “Bon Appetit”is “R.S.V.P.®,” where readers write in asking for their favorite restaurant recipes, and – voila! – there they are: the wild mushroom cakes from a bistro in Tucson, madeleines with lavender honey from the Hotel D’Europe, vegetable slaw from Loaves & Fishes in Sagaponack.

I love reading those recipe requests. They’re like love letters, so full of happy memories and longing. Yes, they’re written about pancakes instead of people, but who are we to judge?

What recipe would you ask for?

Jillian Swift, of Cleveland Heights, Ohio, asked for the Smoked Gouda-Chipotle Grits recipe from Lopez, a Southwestern restaurant in her city. Grits! I’ve waxed rhapsodic about grits here before. Cheese grits with roasted vegetables. Charleston shrimp and grits. Cheese grits chiles rellenos. So, when I saw that someone had taken their turn before the Almighty Recipe Fairy and requested a recipe for grits, I HAD to try it.

What makes these grits special? Layers of flavor. A base of corn and onions sautéed in butter. Grits cooked in whole milk. Two cups of grated smoked Gouda. Chopped chipotle chiles. A sprinkling of chopped fresh cilantro.

A mixture so thick and creamy, you could stand a spoon up in it.

At first taste, these grits are all smoke and spice, but when you bite down and get the sweetness from the corn kernels … you understand Jillian perfectly.

These are grits worthy of a love letter.

So, what recipe do you wish you could track down?

Smoked Gouda and Chipotle Grits

Courtesy of Lopez via “Bon Appetit”

Makes 10 servings

  • 2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter, unsalted
  • 2 cups corn kernels, fresh or frozen
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 5 cups water
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups cups quick-cooking white hominy grits
  • 2 cups (packed) coarsely grated rindless smoked Gouda cheese (about 8 ounces)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped canned chipotle chiles in adobo (or jalapenos)
  • Chopped fresh cilantro
  1. Melt butter in large heavy saucepan over medium high heat. Add corn and onion. Saute until onion is golden, about 10 minutes.
  2. Add water, milk, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil.
  3. Gradually add grits, whisking until mixture is smooth and returns to a boil.
  4. Reduce heat to low and simmer until grits are thick and tender, whisking often, about 15 minutes.
  5. Mix in cheese and chipotle chile. Stir until cheese melts. Transfer grits to a shallow bowl. Sprinkle with cilantro and serve.