Friday, September 26, 2008

Roll Tide Cheese Grits Casserole

Carol, a superb cook and friend of family in Tuscaloosa (Roll Tide), Alabama, shared her recipe for a cheese grits casserole with me several years ago. I loved it then and filed it away in our "keeper" file. A lock box might have been more appropriate. I returned to it recently when feeding some 20-something types in town doing volunteer work and it worked like a charm. Keep this one as an ace-in-the-hole recipe.

Along with this cheese grits casserole I served my take on smoked brisket that I had smoked and slow cooked for over 14 hours. More on that later.

Carol's recipe calls for white 'quick grits' which produces a remarkable result. I am known to break the rules on occasion, however, and I call for yellow stone-ground grits instead. The food science literature agrees that: the less you do to a grain, the higher the fiber content and attendant health benefits. I try to take the healthy route, but I must say that it also tastes better and has more texture. Plus, I like yellow.

Parts of this recipe will raise a "tsk,tsk" from some of my foodie friends. My advice is to relax, follow the recipe and enjoy some good old Southern comfort food that will melt in your mouth.


Put 4 cups of water on to boil. Liberally salt it with a three finger pinch and a half of salt. Throw in a hit of cajun seasoning. After it comes to a boil, gradually stir in 1 cup of yellow stone-grond grits. Cook according to package directions stirring occasionally to stop clumping. When grits lose their soupy quality and begin to coalesce add the following:

1/2 stick of butter or margarine (trans-fat free)
3/4 cup of sharp cheddar, broken into pieces
1/2 of 1-pound package of Velveeta (you may use the fat reduced version), in chunks

Add 1/2 cup of milk and 2 eggs, separately (not mixed together)

Cook until the grits thicken.

Pour into an 8 x 8 casserole dish and cook in a pre-heated oven at 325 degrees until the surface becomes golden to early brown. Remove and let it sit for five minutes. Serve with Crystal Hot Sauce.

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