Sunday, June 22, 2014

Chile Cheese Grits

I love cheese grits.  And it seems like everywhere you go these days, that's what they're serving.  But some of them just aren't up to snuff.  Note to Yankees: Sprinkling cheese on top of grits does not make them cheese grits.  It makes them grits with cheese on top.  I like mine creamy, cheesy, and a little bit salty, especially if they're being served alongside something sweet at breakfast.  Which means they need to be cooked in part water, part milk, and the cheese needs to be melted in.  A little green chiles for heat, and you've got grit perfection.

Chile Cheese Grits

2 cups water
2 cups whole milk
1 cup coarse, stone-ground white grits
¼ cup (½ stick) unsalted butter, cut into chunks
4 ounces sharp Cheddar cheese, finely shredded, plus additional for the top, if desired
1 large egg, beaten
1½ teaspoons sea salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
1 (4-ounce) can chopped green chiles, drained

Preheat the oven to 350°F.  Butter a 1-quart baking dish or 6 individual ramekins.

In a large heavy pot, bring the water and milk to a boil.  Sprinkle the grits into the mixture, stirring constantly, and return to a boil.  Cook over low heat, stirring frequently, until the grits are just tender, about 30 minutes.  Off the heat, stir in the butter and cheese, then stir in the egg.  Season with the salt, black pepper, and garlic powder, then mix in the green chiles.

Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish(es) and sprinkle with additional cheese, if desired. Bake for 40 minutes to 1 hour, until bubbling, puffed, and the top is golden.  Let the grits cool for 20 minutes before serving.

Makes 6 servings

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