As a child growing up in rural Alabama, every Christmas morning we would travel 30 minutes to my grandmother's house in 'town'. When we arrived at my grandmother's there was always a large helping of Aunt Sallie's cheese grits waiting. I could not resist making our family grits Christmas tradition into a one-dish meal with greens and bacon. It does not get any more Southern than that! You are welcome to make this a complete vegetarian meal, but I would not recommend it as the bacon adds so much flavor to the casserole. If you cannot find grits, polenta can be subbed. This recipe was inspired by an old recipe in EatingWell magazine. - Table9 —Table9
Test Kitchen Notes
Table9’s Southern Grits and Greens Casserole is a perfect choice for holiday breakfast fare; it is festive, flavorful and filling. Think hearty, yet tender, steamed collards sandwiched between layers of creamy, cheesy grits—wait, it gets better! Table9 ups the ante on this classic dish by adding crispy bacon bits and piquant salsa to her grits. For me, this is what made this dish special and why I will make it again—and soon—is that it put smiles on the faces of my family, even the little ones who usually prefer not to eat cheese, greens (the boy) or grits (the girl). So this is my kind of food magic. My only suggestion is to double the recipe for a party of six or more. Although Table9 says that this serves a crowd, the zeal with which my family of six enjoyed her dish left nothing for lunch. —gingerroot
Good Olive Oil
Small Red Onion, Finely Chopped
Chopped Collard or Mustard Greens (Spinach can be subbed)
Splash of Hot Sauce
Stone Ground Grits (Do not use Instant)
Sharp Cheddar Cheese, grated
Slices of Crispy Bacon, Finely Chopped (Optional,Can make this a Vegetarian Dish)
Preheat Oven to 400 degrees and grease an 8 inch square pan.
In a large dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and reduce heat to medium-low until garlic starts to brown - keep an eye on the garlic so it does not burn.
Bring 1 cup of vegetable broth, splash of hot sauce and pinch of salt to a boil in saucepan. Add greens and stir to coat with oil, garlic and onion. Cover and cook, stir frequently, until greens are tender. If greens begin to stick or seem dry add water.
While the greens are wilting, bring water, remaining cup of vegetable broth and whole milk to a boil in a separate pot. Once boiling, slowly add grits - stirring constantly to make sure they do not clump. Add unsalted butter and combine.
Bring grits to a simmer over medium heat, then reduce to medium low and cook until thick - stirring often.
Combine gouda, bacon, 1/2 cup of sharp cheddar, salt, pepper, salsa and the beaten egg in a small bowl.
Remove grits from heat once cooked. Add egg mixture to grits. Combine well.
Spread half of the grits mixture in the baking dish. Top with the greens, sprinkle dash of nutmeg over greens, then remaining grits, then sprinkle remaining cheese on top.
Bake for 20 minutes. Cool and refrigerate overnight if needed. Cover casserole and warm in the oven (may need to add a tablespoon of whole milk or water and stir before heating up, if casserole seems dry).