Serves 4 (or 6 with lots of other side dishes)
by Kate Heyhoe
by Kate Heyhoe
The addition of beaten egg whites gives this casserole a light, soufflé-like lift. Even if it deflates before it gets to the table, don't worry—the rich flavor of butter, cheese, garlic and stone ground corn are so irresistible no one will notice.
4 cups water
1 cup grits, preferably stone ground (see Grits Note)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 stick butter (4 tablespoons)
3 green onions, chopped (about 2/3 cup)
4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1/2 cup milk
2 cups grated sharp Cheddar cheese
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper, preferably white pepper
2 large egg whites, beaten until they form soft peaks
Bring the water to a boil over high heat in a large saucepan; a 3-1/2 quart saucepan is best, as it's deep enough to contain the grits mixture when it expands and bubbles up during cooking. Gradually stir in the grits and salt. Partially cover and cook on low heat, stirring frequently, until the grits are tender and thick, about 20 minutes. (Warning: the mixture, like polenta, will splatter and bubble as it cooks.) The mixture is done when it's really thick, like wall-paper paste (not the most appetizing description, but the most accurate.)
While the mixture cooks, heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 2-quart casserole or soufflé dish with some of the butter.
While the grits cook and the oven heats, melt the remaining butter on medium heat in a small skillet. Stir in the green onions and garlic and cook through until soft. (You can also beat the egg whites during this time.)
Stir the garlic mixture, milk, cheese, and pepper into the grits. Gently fold the beaten egg whites into the grits. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and bake about 60 minutes, or until the top is golden and a toothpick in the center comes out clean. (Baking times may vary as much as 10 minutes shorter or longer.)
Use the best quality grits you can find. Look for stone ground grits in whole foods and specialty stores. Absolutely do *not* use the instant or quick-cooking grits, which are pretty much flavorless.
This page created January 2000
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