Christmas morning tradition: Grits Casserole

If there’s one thing I love, it’s good southern cooking. And even though we live in New England, I’ve done my best to share my love of grits with everyone willing to try them. We have shared them quite a bit as we love to host brunch whenever we can. My husband has a pretty fancy espresso machine and is an amazing barista, so having people over for an early meal where I can serve them grits alongside a fabulous latte has been a good combo. And so far, the grits have been a hit for everyone who has tried them. My favorite way to serve them is in casserole form – it’s a super easy make ahead dish, which makes hosting that much easier. As an aside, I also love to serve them with a fancy dinner meal – they pair very well with beef tenderloin and always are good with shrimp!

We’ve also made it a tradition to have grits on Christmas morning. I think it’s such a fun a idea to build traditions around food. I grew up eating my mom’s homemade cinnamon rolls on Christmas morning – it was such a treat and of course my mom’s rolls are delicious. But I am not my mother and even though I tried for a few years to make popovers (FAIL!) I realized early on that I needed a quick and easy make ahead dish so that I would not be stressed on a day that should not be stressful! Now, I prepare the dish on Christmas eve and pop it in the refrigerator for the night. On Christmas morning, I can put the dish in the oven and focus on the joy and excitement of stockings and other Christmas surprises. By the time the presents are opened, the grits have cooked themselves and are hot and ready to go! We server ours with fresh fruit, cut and refrigerated on Christmas Eve and some muffins or other pastry (and multiple cups of coffee for mom and dad!) With almost no morning prep, you have a pretty great Christmas breakfast

These days, I split the recipe and make 1/2 plain and 1/2 with habanero cheese. It’s a fantastic kick if you like a little spice (which we do!) The recipe I use and love comes from an old church cookbook (which by the way, wouldn’t you agree that some of the BEST recipes are found in old church cookbooks?!?)

Here it is. I hope you will give it a try!

Grits Casserole*

  • 4 C Water
  • 1 t salt
  • 1 C quick-cooking grits
  • 1 C shredded cheddar (or habaner0) cheese
  • 1/4 C butter
  • 2 eggs, slightly beaten

Heat water and salt to boiling in 3 quart saucepan. Gradually stir in grits. Heat to boiling, reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in cheese, butter and eggs (Note – I like to temper the eggs buy adding a little hot grits to them before fully incorporating them into the recipe.)

Pour into a 1 1/2 quart casserole dish. At this point you can cover and pop it into the fridge for the night if you are making it ahead. Otherwise, you can bake immediately at 350 degrees until the top is firm and begins to crack (about 50 minutes.)

*Credit – Tami Johnson – A Taste of SMBC (Favorite Recipes from Shades Mountain Baptist Church Cookbook, Birmingham, Alabama)

grits

Tell me – what does your family eat on Christmas morning?

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