In my last post, I mentioned some cheese grits I’d recently had that almost made me spontaneously speak in foreign tongues. Even if they hadn’t been as creamy, cheesy, buttery, and velvety as they were, I probably would’ve proclaimed my love for them anyway simply for the reason that they were offered on the menu. I’ve had a lifelong penchant for cheese grits that began when my mom introduced them to me as a kid and that I’ve never outgrown. (I hope I never do.) Grits are typically a Southern dish, and cheese grits are even more of a novelty, so on the rare occasion that I spot them on a restaurant menu, I just can’t pass them up.
Reliving that recent cheese grits experience while writing my previous post, I considered contacting the restaurant and asking if they’d be willing to share their recipe so I could try my hand at them at home. Instead, I came to my senses and realized that I already possessed the Holy Grail of cheese grits recipes: my mom’s. After all, Daniel Boulud may be a world-renowned superstar chef with a littany of Michelin stars to his name, but one thing he has not is my mother’s loving touch.
A couple of tips before getting started: I’ve used fine grits, like Arrowhead Mills’, and the results are perfectly amazing, but more recently I tried using the more rough-cut variety from Trader Joe’s, and Oh. My. God. The added bite and texture took things to a whole new level of decadence. Lastly, this dish comprises mainly cheese, butter, and corn, things that Anyone Who Knows Anything About Nutrition would caution strongly against. But, you’ve already come this far, so what’s a little extra sprinkling of shredded cheddar on top of the gorgeous grits mixture before tucking them into the oven?
Try it and see.
1 1/2 c. grits
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. paprika
a few dashes of hot sauce
1 lb. sharp cheddar cheese, grated
1/2 c. butter
Stir grits gradually into 6 cups boiling water; cook until thickened. Beat eggs until thickened; beat in seasonings and hot sauce. Add small spoonful of hot grits to egg mixture, stirring constantly. Stir egg mixture into remaining grits gradually; add cheese and butter. Mix well; pour into greased 9×13″ casserole dish. (Optional: Sprinkle more shredded cheddar evenly on top.) Bake at 350 for one hour or until firm (top should be golden brown).