- 1 cup stone-ground grits
- 4 cups water
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 4 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, grated
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 large eggs, beaten
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional for a hint of Southern spice)
- Fresh chives or scallions, thinly sliced for garnish
- Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C). Grease a 9×13-inch baking dish and set it aside.
- In a large saucepan, bring water to a boil. Add a pinch of salt and slowly whisk in the grits, ensuring they absorb the water smoothly. Reduce the heat to low and continue to cook for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally until they become tender and creamy.
- In a separate skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the minced garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Be careful not to let it brown.
- Pour the garlic-infused butter over the cooked grits, followed by the grated cheddar cheese. Stir until the cheese melts completely and blends harmoniously with the grits.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the beaten eggs, milk, black pepper, and cayenne pepper (if desired). Slowly pour this mixture into the saucepan with the grits, stirring continuously until everything is well combined.
- Transfer the grits mixture to the greased baking dish, spreading it evenly. Gently tap the dish on the counter to remove any air bubbles.
- Place the dish in the preheated oven and bake for 45-50 minutes, or until the casserole sets and turns golden brown on top. You can check doneness by inserting a toothpick into the center; it should come out clean.
- Once done, remove the casserole from the oven and let it cool for a few minutes. Sprinkle fresh chives or scallions on top for a burst of freshness and vibrant flavor.
Serve this delectable Southern-Style Garlic Cheese Grits Casserole warm, allowing the creamy layers to melt in your mouth—each bite a nostalgic reminder of familial warmth and artisanal indulgence.
Tips and Variations:
- For an extra savory twist, add cooked bacon bits to the grits mixture before baking.
- Elevate the flavor by using a mixture of different cheeses, such as sharp white cheddar and Gruyère.
- If you prefer a more pronounced garlic flavor, roast the garlic cloves in the oven before mincing and incorporating them into the dish.
Indulge in this delightful Southern classic during brunches, potlucks, or simply for a comforting meal that will transport you to a time when stories were shared and bellies were filled with love.