Sunday, November 21, 2010

Baked Garlic Cheese Grits with Sausage

A souffle'd casserole of baked grits with cheese and sausage.
A souffle'd casserole of baked grits with cheese and sausage.

Baked Garlic Cheese Grits with Sausage

I love my stovetop version of garlic cheese grits. They are a creamy, cheesy, and perfect garlicky cradle for eggs in purgatory, shrimp and grits, or grillades and grits, or as a tasty side dish, great with scrambled or fried, dirty eggs.  Last week though, we were chatting over on the Facebook page about everybody's favorite way to make a baked, casserole-style cheese grits, like this one; souffle-like and fluffy.

Well, there's the whole garlic cheese roll debacle that has caused some to give up on their favorite garlic cheese grits casseroles all together, but it seems a lot of people simply favored the recipes found right off the backs of their favorite grits box! Who knew?

Beth shared her Mexican version of cheese grits, with jalapenos, hot sauce and pimentos, yum! Marcia offered suggestions such as substituting a bit of half and half for part of the water and using extra sharp cheddar for a flavor pop (thanks Marcia!), and several others even use sort of a queso combo - adding Velveeta cheese and Rotel tomatoes in the grits. For the record, while I kept this recipe here basic this time, y'all know, I am so going there with the queso cheese grits!

We Southerners love our grits, and we seem to be pretty fond of a grits casserole too, especially when you pair that up with some spicy breakfast sausage. Add in some fried or scrambled eggs and you've got a very nice eye-opener for those holiday guests.  I know the pictures don't do the dish justice - I don't care how hard you try, there is just no way to make a pretty picture of a serving of a grits casserole. But... if you're like me, you already know you can't always judge a book by it's cover, and that's certainly the case with this delicious breakfast casserole.

Here's how to make it.

Recipe: Baked Garlic Cheese Grits with Sausage

©From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish
  • 1 pound roll of hot breakfast sausage (like Jimmy Dean)
  • 1/4 cup of butter
  • 2 teaspoons of finely minced garlic
  • 2 cups of water
  • 2 cups of half and half
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup of quick cooking grits (not instant)
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 cups of shredded sharp cheddar cheese, divided
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 3-quart baking dish; set aside.

Brown the sausage in a skillet until cooked; drain and set aside. In the same skillet, melt the butter and then saute the garlic a couple of minutes until softened.

Combine the water and half and half, and bring mixture to a boil. Stir in the salt and grits, and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring a couple of times; remove from the heat. Beat the eggs in a small bowl and temper them by beating in a couple of tablespoons of the hot grits. Add the tempered eggs to the grits. Stir in the butter and garlic, scraping all of it from out of the skillet, and 1-1/2 cups of the cheese. Reserve the remaining cheese for later. Add the cooked sausage and hot sauce, and stir the grits until everything is blended in well.

Turn out into the prepared baking dish and bake at 350 degrees F, for about 50 minutes. Sprinkle remaining 1/2 cup of cheese on top, and return to the oven for 10 minutes longer, or until cheese is lightly browned.

Cook's Notes: Also delicious with finely minced andouille or smoked sausage. Make a Mexican version of cheese grits, by adding jalapenos, hot sauce and pimentos, and go queso by using Velveeta cheese and adding Rotel tomatoes. Refrigerate leftovers, then slice or cut into wedges, dip in flour and fry. Serve as a side or use for shrimp and grits or grillades and grits.


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Posted by on November 21, 2010

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