Grits Casserole

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Grits, crispy bacon, and eggs combine to make a grits casserole. The secret ingredient is not the eggs, bacon, or grits! Rather, it is the bacon grease. Mixing the grits with the bacon grease before baking gives this breakfast casserole a richer flavor and texture. A few chopped jalapeños and a drizzle of hot sauce (we like the vinegar flavor of Cholula) give it a kick, but you can add a few shallots instead. This dish can be served as a weekend breakfast or as a breakfast for dinner.

What is the difference between instant corn grits and regular corn grits?

Both are made from corn, but that is the only similarity. Instant maize grits are ground finer than coarse maize grits, which are stone ground. It is also usually semi-cooked and therefore cooks more quickly when cooked. For this casserole dish, use quick-cooking unmilled rice.

Can I reheat the casserole grits?

Cover the casserole with foil and heat in a 350° oven for 10-20 minutes, or until the heat is removed. Here’s a better idea. Slice the cooled casserole into thick slices and bake until the crust is crisp and golden brown.

Is fresh shredded cheese better than ready-made?

Cheese grated from the block tends to melt more evenly than pre-grated cheese and costs a little less per ounce. On the other hand, pre-grated cheese is very convenient. Feel free to use either in this casserole recipe!

Grits Casserole

Yield : 10-12 servings
Preparation time : 20 minutes
Total time : 1 hour and 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 12 oz. thick-cut bacon (about 10 strips), chopped
  • 6 scallions, thinly sliced, plus more for garnish
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded and chopped
  • 3/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 c. uncooked quick-cooking grits
  • 3 c. shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 c. half and half
  • 4 large eggs, beaten
  • Hot sauce, for serving

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 350°. Coat a 9 x 13-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
  • In a large nonstick skillet over medium heat, cook bacon, stirring occasionally, until bacon is crisp, 14 to 16 minutes. Remove 1/4 cup of bacon and place on a plate lined with paper towels.
  • Add shallots and jalapenos to pan and cook with remaining bacon, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
  • In a medium Dutch oven, bring 4 1/2 cups water and salt to a boil over medium heat. Stir in cornmeal, sprinkling a little at a time. Bring to a boil again. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer, stirring frequently, until grits are thickened, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in cheese until completely melted. Stir in pan halves, egg and bacon mixture, and drippings. Using a slotted spoon, pour into prepared baking dish.
  • Bake the casserole for 50 minutes to 1 hour until the surface is light golden brown. Serve with bacon and shallots and garnish with chorizo.