Monday, March 27, 2017

cheesy grits recipe

So I mentioned making cheesy grits (well, really, a cheese grits casserole) for the church lunch on Sunday.

This is, I think, the best way to eat cheesy grits. I had been making them on the stovetop, which has the virtue of being fast, but the grits are a bit runnier, then.

And yes. I really love cheesy grits. GB Shaw said "There is no love sincerer than the love of food" and while there are relatively few foods I would straight-up say I "loved," cheesy grits fall into that category.

(There's also a bad old dieting line that claims "nothing tastes as good as thin feels." Nuh-uh. Not at the end of the day when you've been running around all day and are tired and hungry and you finally get some nutritious food to refresh yourself with.)

And yeah, cheese grits might not be the MOST nutritious food ever, but they're *pretty* nutritious by comparison to many things. And they're just darn good.

And this is now my favorite cheese grits recipe ever. It's from "Noted Cookery," that DSO fundraiser book I found in an antique store over break. I'm going to give it as written and then add my changes:

Cheese grits casserole

3 eggs
3 teaspoons of salt
1 1/2 teaspoons hot sauce
1 teaspoon paprika
6 cups boiling water
1 1/2 cups quick cooking grits
1 pound grated cheese (they specify "Wisconsin" cheese; cheddar, I presume)
3/4 cup butter.

You beat the eggs with the spices and set that aside. Following package directions, cook the grits in the boiling water. Then add the butter, cheese (they don't say to, but I think you had better take the pan of the grits off the heat first) and then the eggs (either let the grits cool or "temper" the eggs by slowly adding hot grits to them before you dump them in. You don't want a lump of scrambled eggs in your grits!). Mix well and pour into a 2-quart casserole (an 8" square pan should work here). Cook at 350 for an hour or until firm

They say "serves 16" but that seems like tiny servings.

Okay, my changes: The biggest one is I did 1 2/3 worth of the recipe (fractions, yay! Because there are three eggs, right? And a simple doubling would overwhelm the 9 x 13 pan I intended to use).

Also, I left out the hot sauce but put maybe about 1/4 tsp of garlic powder in (a "dash" would be enough for the smaller recipe). I cut waaaaaaay back on the salt and even if I weren't restricting sodium I think the salt as written would be too much: cheese is salty.

I used colby-jack cheese, which I like and which also melts well. I did add a bit of leftover cheddar I had, also. I guess these are often traditionally done with Velveeta or American-style cheese, but I do not think they would be as good as with "natural" cheese.

I also think I mistakenly added more paprika than necessary but I like paprika and it gave a good flavor, so.

The resulting casserole is very pretty when it first comes out (it puffs like a souffle) but it does collapse as it cools. But it's excellent reheated - I had leftover nearly half the 9 x 13 pan (which barely held the 1 2/3 batch I made).

I greased the pan but that is probably not necessary.

I think I'm going to use this recipe in the future (at least, when I have time to bake it for an hour). The stovetop version is good but this is something special. And it's just a good thing to be able to make: it's good for vegetarians-that-eat-eggs-and-cheese, it's good for picky little kids, it's good for people who want some kind of side dish alongside the meat, it's good for people (like me) who just like cheese and carbohydrates together....

It's essentially macaroni and cheese but with grits instead of the pasta. (And apparently you can find, some places, grits processed in a gluten-free facility, so they are safe for many people who have to do GF....I did not know that; I thought corn had gluten!)

it would also make a dandy breakfast casserole, ESPECIALLY with some cooked crumbled up bulk sausage mixed in.

There are numerous "southern" foods I am not fond of (chicken-fried steak, fried catfish, okra....) but I certainly do like cheese grits.

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