So, you’re asking yourself, why is Patti, the highly sophisticated world traveler and lover of the arts, posting a recipe for something as ordinary as grits? I believe that to be a very fair question and worthy of a dignified answer. Because they’re darned good honey, that’s why! Allow me to elaborate. A few years ago when Mr. C. and I were visiting daughter Eden and her family, Eden fixed grits for us one morning for breakfast. This was about the same time polenta started appearing on every menu in America. I had tried polenta several times while dining, and frankly had not been very impressed. So I wasn’t coming to the table (so to speak) with much hope that grits would taste any better. Ho baby, was I wrong! And I have to tell you when I am wrong, I am usually very, very wrong. This time was no exception. Eden’s grits were so amazing I could not stop eating them. I was absolutely blown away. I immediately begged for the recipe. As soon as I checked out the ingredient list I knew why this dried ground hominy dish had stolen my heart. Butter, heavy cream, and sharp white cheddar cheese! The unholy trinity of health conscious people everywhere. So, needless to say, White Cheddar Cheese Grits do not grace our table on a frequent basis. But when I want to impress the socks off guests or am feeling particularly in need of a good pampering, I fix this recipe. And for those readers who love polenta, I must confess that over the years I too have come to love it as much as I do any other starchy food. That is to say, with a passion! I just know that had “carbohydrate” been one of the 12 signs of the zodiac, I would have been born under it (with “dairy” ascending, of course)!
- 2 c. milk
- 1 c. water
- ¾ c. quick grits (like Albers)
- 1/3 c. butter
- ¾ c. heavy cream or evaporated milk
- 2 ½ c. grated sharp white cheddar cheese
- ½ tsp kosher salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- 2 large eggs
- 6-12 drops hot sauce
- 1/3 c. chopped fresh chives, opt.
Bring the milk and water to a boil in a medium sized covered sauce pan. Slowly whisk in the grits. Cover pan and reduce the heat to low. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 6 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in the butter, cream, cheese, salt, and pepper to taste. In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs, hot sauce, and chives. Gradually add the egg mixture to the hot grit mixture, stirring vigorously to prevent eggs from curdling. Pour into a buttered casserole dish, sprinkle with paprika, and bake in a pre-heated 375 degree oven for 40-45 minutes or until golden brown and puffy. Serve for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.