If there’s one thing my mama taught me, it was to love good Southern food. There are so many foods that we in the American South claim as our own…some of them, many northern folks haven’t even tried. That’s ok, of course, as they have their specialties, too; regional cooking is wonderful.
But I digress. Some of the things that are traditional Southern favorites are grits and greens. Now, I’m relatively new to the love of greens, after learning how to cook them in a more non-traditional way, so I liked them better. (Gently stir-fried in a cast-iron skillet in a bit of bacon drippings) And the only grits I’ve ever tried and haven’t liked were some unsalted grits…likely cooked up by a non-Southern transplant. 😉
To combine greens with the grits I love so much, I created this casserole so they could play together nicely. This casserole marries some of the South’s favorite ingredients: greens, grits, and eggs. It is perfect any time of day, and is a great way to use up leftover cooked greens.
Southern grits and greens casserole:
To make the creamy cheese grits:
6 cups water
1 1/2 cups old fashioned grits
1 1/2 tsp salt
Bring water to boil; add grits and salt, whisking constantly. Drop heat to low, and cover, stirring occasionally. Cook according to package directions, which for Old Fashioned style grits should be about 12 minutes, or until thickened.
Remove from heat. (You can use whatever grits recipe you like here; if you’d rather use quick grits, be my guest. But instant grits are just wrong and should be banished from all southern kitchens.)
Add 1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese (I used sharp white cheddar) to grits, and stir until completely melted.
In a small mixing bowl, combine:
1/2 cup half and half
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 to 1 tsp red pepper flakes
Mix well, and then add to cheese grits mixture.
Next, add two to three cups cooked, drained greens (collard, turnip, mustard, spinach, etc.). Stir into grits until well-distributed.
Spread mixture into greased or sprayed 9×13 baking dish.
Bake at 375 degrees F for 25-30 minutes.
To add eggs:
Remove casserole after 25-30 minutes, or until firm in center. Use a serving spoon to make 6 or 7 indentions in top of grits casserole. Crack a whole egg into a cup, then gently drop one egg into each indention.
Return to oven for 12 minutes or until eggs look done enough for your taste…longer for firm eggs, shorter for runnier eggs.
Serve with a sprinkling of hot sauce and shredded cheese, if desired. Enjoy!
Copyright 2015 Stephanie Hill-Frazier. All rights reserved.