With the arrival of fall I have a sudden yen for comfort food, which translates to Southern cooking. This weekend I was invited to a multicultural potluck and decided it was the perfect opportunity to trot out one of my family’s favorite special occasion dish: baked cheese grits. As always when I serve this dish outside the South, the first person through the line pokes at it, takes a small spoonful to be polite, takes a bite and starts to rave. Other people take bigger spoonfuls, the first few people go back for seconds and I get to score the potluck victory of taking home an empty casserole. Being somewhat waistline and wallet conscious, I’ve worked to cut calories and scale back on the more expensive ingredients from the original recipe. Not surprisingly, the first thing I cut was the crumbled breakfast sausage my aunt always served on top, though you non-vegetarians who are looking for a splurge should definitely consider it. And while grits are delicious for breakfast (think of them as a savory oatmeal or cream of wheat), they’re great for dinner, much like polenta, often served with ham or shrimp. Personally, I like it as is with a greens salad for dinner or fruit for breakfast.
Baked Cheese Grits
- 3 cups vegetable broth
- 1 clove garlic finely minced
- 1 cup grits or cornmeal
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/2 pound shredded cheddar cheese, divided
- 2 tbsp butter
- 2 eggs
Lightly grease a 2 quart casserole dish (I use a 9×9) and preheat the oven to 350F.
Bring the broth and garlic to a boil, then whisk in grits. Keep whisking until the mixture thickens, about 3 to 5 minutes. Whisk in milk and all but 1/2 cup of cheese until cheese is melted and thorough combined. Next, whisk in butter and eggs until mixture is smooth. Pour into prepared casserole and sprinkle with remaining cheese.
Pour into prepared casserole and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until cheese on top is bubbling and brown.