HAM AND GRITS CASSEROLE (Adapted from Southern Living)
2 TBSP salted butter
1/4 cup finely chopped yellow onion
2 tsp minced garlic
4 1/2 cups water
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups uncooked yellow stone-ground grits
2 (8-oz.) pkg. cubed boneless ham, drained and patted dry with paper towels
1 (8-oz.) pkg. shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
1 (8-oz.) pkg. shredded extra-sharp Cheddar cheese
1 cup whole milk
1 cup fresh corn kernels (from about 2 ears)
1 1/2 tsp chopped fresh thyme
1/4 tsp black pepper
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
Lightly grease a 3-quart baking dish. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Melt butter in a Dutch oven over medium; stir in onion and garlic, and cook, stirring constantly, 2 minutes.
Stir in water and salt, increase heat to medium-high, and bring to a boil. Whisk in grits, and stir in ham; return to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer, whisking occasionally, until thickened and grits are almost tender, 15 to 20 minutes.
Remove from heat; add both cheeses, stirring until completely melted. Stir in milk, corn, thyme, pepper, and eggs. Spoon mixture into prepared baking dish. Bake in preheated oven until golden and cooked through, 50 minutes to 1 hour. Let stand 15 minutes before serving.
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