One of the most popular recipes for grits turns the humble breakfast cereal into a glorious casserole with just cheese, eggs, and garlic.
It rises high in the pan and impresses crowds or just your family, and the beauty of this decidedly Southern dish is that it can stand alone with a few slices of baked ham or fit nicely into the complex patchwork of food brought to a potluck.
When served alone, you can fully appreciate those stone-ground grits in the casserole. You can taste the cheese, garlic, and butter, and you can see this casserole emerge from the oven golden brown and glorious. But when toted to a party or church supper, the grits casserole adapts to the situation and can be kept warm wrapped in a towel or insulated tote bag. It can be reheated in the host’s oven. And its simple corn flavor marries with just about any recipe on the table.
Historians think the grits casserole came into American kitchens after World War II, about the same time that the soft processed rolls of garlic-flavored cheese were first sold. The original recipe involves cooking the grits in water, milk, and a little fresh garlic, then folding in butter, a roll of garlic cheese, shredded Cheddar, a bit of Worcestershire sauce and a pinch of cayenne pepper before baking.
That first grits casserole recipe has fed generations, and you can make it, too! Add a green salad, and you have a perfectly Southern meal that starts with our stone-ground grits.Print
Old-Fashioned Garlicky Cheese Grits Casserole
- Prep Time: 35 minutes
- Cook Time: 40-45 minutes
- Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
- Yield: 6 Servings
3 cups water
2 cups milk
1 teaspoon salt
1 ¼ cups The Old Mill White Grits
1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 large eggs, beaten
1 roll (6 ounces) processed garlic-flavored cheese, cut into quarters
2 cup (8 ounces) shredded Cheddar cheese
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
Pinch of cayenne pepper, to taste
- Pour the water and milk in a large saucepan. Stir in the salt. Bring to a boil over medium heat.
- Whisk in the grits slowly, whisking until they are incorporated. Add the garlic. When the mixture comes to a boil, reduce the heat to low to let them simmer until thickened, about 20 to 25 minutes, stirring constantly to prevent them from sticking to the pan. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Add the butter, beaten eggs, garlic cheese, Cheddar, Worcestershire sauce, and cayenne pepper to the grits, and stir to combine. Lightly grease a 2- or 3-quart casserole dish with butter, and pour in the hot grits mixture. Place the casserole in the oven, and bake until it has nearly set and is lightly browned on top, about 40 to 45 minutes. Serve warm.