Monday, August 13, 2012

Baked Four Cheese Grits

Even though I wasn't born in the South, I eat like a Southerner. One of my favorite southern foods besides fried okra is grits. I don't really care how they are fixed...white, yellow, cheesy, buttery, spicy...I will eat them! I went to a brunch shower my friend last weekend and I was supposed to bring hashbrown casserole or some type of grits. The decision of what to fix was not hard...grits, of course!

I have my own recipe for how I like to make grits if I'm putting some kind of meat on top. However, I needed to make a lot of grits with no meat on top. I've tried Paula Dean's recipe for Baked Garlic Cheese Grits and they weren't exactly what I wanted. Honestly, they had too many eggs in them which made them more like an egg, grits casserole. I'm not at all saying I'm a better cook than Paula Deen, however, I'm not always as impressed by her recipes as I am everyone else. I think there are a lot better recipes out there!

So, all that to say, I decided to wing it and create my own Baked Cheese Grits recipe. I really hope you enjoy it! And, if you attended the shower and these taste different at all, it's because I'm kind of guessing on the amounts since I didn't follow a recipe ; ).

Baked Four Cheese Grits

2 cups stone ground yellow grits (I use Bob's Red Mill Corn Grits or their Course Ground Cornmeal. Please don't use cheap white grits!)
3 cups chicken broth (I use 3 cups water and 3 teaspoons of Better Than Bouillon. I think it has a much better flavor than canned or boxed broth. You can also buy boxed chicken stock because it has great flavor but you'll get a ton more uses out of the Better Than Bouillon jar.)
3 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
2 garlic cloves (peeled and cut into halves...needs to be easy to scoop out of the liquid)
2 teaspoons salt
2-3 teaspoons black pepper
1/4 teaspoons or more of Cajun seasoning (optional...I just had some I got while we were in Denver so decided to throw it in.)
8oz. Cabot extra sharp white cheddar cheese, shredded
4oz. Smoked Gouda, shredded (Lowe's Foods has small 4oz blocks that are $2-$4.)
2 oz. cream cheese or mascarpone cheese
4 tablespoons real unsalted butter (not margarine)
1/4-1/2 cup heavy creamy for consistency
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup sharp yellow or white cheddar, shredded

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium saucepan on medium-high heat, add the milk, chicken stock, 1 cup heavy cream, garlic cloves, and salt. Bring it to a boil stirring often to make sure the milk is not burning on the bottom of the pan (Tip: rinse your saucepan in cold water before using it and dump out all of the water but do not wipe it out. This will prevent the milk from sticking). Once it is boiling, quickly remove the garlic cloves and discard. Then, slowly add the grits. Using a whisk, mix it into the liquid. Once all of the grits are well mixed into the liquid, decrease the heat to low and cover with a lid. You must remove the lid and stir frequently (every 2-3 minutes) to keep the grits from sticking to the saucepan. Continue with this process for 8-15 minutes until it is creamy. Remove from the heat.

Season the grits with the cajun seasoning and pepper. Stir in the white Cheddar and Gouda until melted. Then, add the cream cheese or mascarpone and butter. At this time, taste to make sure the amount of salt and pepper are good for your taste. Whisk in the egg. Be sure to whisk quickly as you add the egg so it doesn't cook. If you want to add a little more creaminess, add 1/4-1/2 cup more heavy cream. Pour into a greased 9x13 pan and top with the yellow or white cheddar. Bake in oven for 30-35 minutes.



Jessica Lynn said...

Yummy Talia!!!! This excites me so very much to see you posting recipes again!!!!

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