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This Southern grits casserole is packed with bacon and cheese
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This Southern grits casserole is packed with bacon and cheese

From the 5 Southern-inspired recipes to check out this week series
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This Southern grits casserole is the ultimate savory breakfast dish. It’s loaded with smoked Gouda and cheddar cheeses, flavored with smoked paprika and garlic powder, and topped with plenty of crispy bacon bits.

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Baked grits are easier to prepare in advance.

If you’ve only ever cooked grits on the stovetop, you’re in for a treat. Baked grits are easier to prepare in advance, you can bring them straight from the oven to the table, and you get all the benefits of creamy grits with a crispy, golden top. I guarantee it will leave your entire family satisfied.

Cheesy Baked Grits with Bacon

Serves 6

  • 8 ounces thick-cut bacon
  • 8 cups water
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 cups corn grits
  • 8 ounces smoked gouda cheese, shredded (about 2 cups), divided
  • 4 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (about 1 cup)
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, plus more for the skillet
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley, plus more for garnish
  • 2 cups whole or 2% milk
  • 3 large eggs

1. Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 400 F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil.

2. Place 8 ounces bacon in a single layer on the baking sheet. Bake until deep golden brown and crispy, about 14 minutes. Meanwhile, place 8 cups water and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.

3. When the bacon is ready, transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain, then coarsely chop. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 F.

4. While whisking, add 2 cups grits to boiling water. Reduce the heat to the lowest setting, cover, and simmer until the grits are tender and the water is almost completely absorbed, 10 to 15 minutes. Meanwhile, grate 8 ounces smoked gouda cheese (about 2 cups) and 4 ounces sharp cheddar cheese (about 1 cup) on the large holes of a box grater. Cut 1 stick unsalted butter into 8 pieces. Beat 3 large eggs together in a small bowl.

5. When the grits are ready, remove from the heat. Add the cheddar, 1 cup of the gouda, butter, 2 teaspoons garlic powder, 1 teaspoon smoked paprika and 1 teaspoon dried parsley. Whisk until the cheeses and butter are fully melted and the mixture is well combined, 1 to 2 minutes.

6. Add 2 cups milk and 3 large eggs. Vigorously whisk everything together to keep the eggs from scrambling. Coat a 12-inch cast iron or other oven-safe skillet with butter. Pour the grits into the pan. Sprinkle with the bacon and remaining 1 cup gouda. Cover the pan with aluminum foil.

7. Bake for 20 minutes. Uncover and bake until the grits shake slightly in the middle, the edges are set, and the top is golden brown, 25 to 40 minutes more. Garnish with more parsley and serve.

Recipe notes: To make ahead, cook the grits and pour into a greased skillet, cool to room temperature, and refrigerate overnight. When ready to bake, let sit at room temperature 20 to 30 minutes while the oven heats before sprinkling with the cheese and bacon, covering with foil, and baking.

Leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container up to three days. Reheat in a 350 F until warmed through, 10 to 15 minutes.

If you don’t have smoked paprika, you can substitute with regular paprika.

(Shanika Graham-White is a contributor to TheKitchn.com, a nationally known blog for people who love food and home cooking. Submit any comments or questions to editorial@thekitchn.com.)

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