Baked Cheese Grits

Back in November my husband and I traveled down to Eureka Springs, Arkansas to do some hiking in the Ozark Mountains. Both of us love the outdoors and hiking, but here in central Illinois we are surrounded by nothing but corn fields. If we want to do some decent hiking we have to travel at least an hour to do so. My husband had a few vacation days so we just packed up and drove down to Arkansas. We had heard so much about how wonderful the Ozark mountains were and since neither of us had ever been there we decided to go. We even took our dogs with us! We stayed at Arsenic and Old Lace, a wonderful bed and breakfast nestled in a hillside of Eureka Springs. The innkeepers were exceptionally nice and prepared some amazing breakfasts for us each day. After a long day of hiking on the Pigeon Roost and Hidden Diversity Trails we drove to the nearby War Eagle Mill and bought some stone ground flour, cornmeal, and grits. As soon as I spotted the grits I got so excited, I have had this recipe for cheese grits bookmarked for so long but I haven’t been able to find stone ground grits in any of my local stores. My mom was born and raised in the south, so growing up we had our fair share of Southern food. Grits were always one of my favorites. Whether they were cheese grits, shrimp and grits, or even plain grits with loads of butter-I loved them. Unfortunately all you can find here in central Illinois is instant grits. The weekend that we came home from Arkansas I made a big creamy bowl of these grits. They are incredible! The sharp Cheddar and mild Monterey Jack creates the perfect balance of creaminess and flavor. I have even made them with pepper jack cheese and it gives the dish a spicy little kick.

One Year Ago: Pumpkin Cranberry Chocolate Chip Bars 

Baked Cheese Grits

Printer Friendly Version

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup stone-ground grits
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 cup, packed extra sharp cheddar cheese, about 4 ounces, divided
  • 1 cup, packed Monterey Jack cheese, about 4 ounces, divided
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter

Directions:

  1. Lightly butter the bottom and sides or a 10-inch skillet, or int 4-inch ramekins.
  2. In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat bring milk and water, covered, to a boil, about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium and add the grits, salt, pepper. Stir constantly until grits are the consistency of thick soup, about 8 minutes. Reduce to a simmer, stirring every 2 minutes, and cook 10 to 15 minutes to let the grits thicken further. Cook for 10 to 15 minutes longer, stirring constantly to prevent grits from sticking to the bottom of the pan. Grits will be really thick.
  3. Remove from heat and stir in ¾ cup of cheddar cheese, ¾ cup Monterey Jack cheese, and the butter. Pour the grits into prepared skillet or ramekins and top with remaining cheese. Turn over to broil.
  4. Place directly under the heating element for 2 to 3 minutes, or until the cheese topping is melted and starts to brown. Serve immediately.

Yields: 4 servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes

Source: Baked Explorations, adapted from The Lee Brothers Southern Cookbook

20 Responses to “Baked Cheese Grits”

  1. #
    1
    Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide — January 29, 2012 @ 11:52 am

    This was so fun to read because as you might know, we live in Arkansas. That’s a few hours north and Katherine’s been, but I still haven’t. I hear it’s just beautiful and we keep meaning to drive up. The road up is crazy windy, not interstate. It’s actually called the pig trail. We need to do a weekend up there sometime. Anyway, we love our grits and War Eagle makes some great products.

    • Christina replied: — January 29th, 2012 @ 12:45 pm

      While we were down there I actually remembered that you guys were from Arkansas. You should really go to Eureka Springs sometime. It is a cute little town with lots of outdoor activities. We had so much fun we will definitely go back sometime soon. I wish I would have bought some more from the War Eagle Mill, they have some of the best cornmeal I have ever tasted! :)

  2. #
    2
    thekalechronicles — January 29, 2012 @ 11:59 am

    I have never cooked grits — polenta yes, grits no. When I lived in the South, other people cooked them so I never learned, but I have heard good things about cheese grits and shrimp and grits.

  3. #
    3
    Sheryl Crawford — January 29, 2012 @ 12:03 pm

    This is one I have to try. I love grits. Are stone ground a lot different from instant?

    • Christina replied: — January 29th, 2012 @ 12:40 pm

      Sheryl,
      Stone-ground grits taste nothing like instant grits, they take longer to cook, but they are well worth the wait! Once you have had the stone ground you will never go back. Stone ground grits are hearty and have much better texture and flavor than the instant kind.
      Your local grocery might sell it but if not you can always get it online. The actual grits that I used can be purchased here or here. I have tried both the yellow and white grits and I love them both. If you give them a try let me know how they turn out! :)

  4. #
    4
    Just A Smidgen — January 29, 2012 @ 1:07 pm

    This reminds me of the difference between instant oatmeal and steel-cut oats.. a little time and you have something so much more amazing. I’ve never had stone ground grits.. I’m going to look today at the little whole foods market for these! Fingers are crossed!!
    I’ve also never been to the Ozarks, well, there are so many places I’ve never been… Can’t wait to do more travelling!

  5. #
    5
    christina — January 29, 2012 @ 1:45 pm

    Oh, this looks amazing! (I am NOT a southerner, but my Grandam is and made sure I was introduced to grits. I like them with butter and black pepper and have never quite understood the grit-haters.) Unfortunately, stone ground grits will probably be even harder for me to find than it was for you…

  6. #
    6
    christina — January 29, 2012 @ 1:46 pm

    My GRANDMA, I mean. ; )

  7. #
    7
    Ken — January 29, 2012 @ 3:23 pm

    @Christina, try here. We like the yellow. They’re called Dixie Ice Cream. Plan on cooking them 45-60 minutes. It’s worth it! http://www.noramill.com/store/index.php?cPath=48&osCsid=cbtcndupu09bler0e9a55pskj5

    • Christina replied: — February 15th, 2012 @ 8:44 pm

      Sounds delicious…I will have to check them out! :)

  8. #
    8
    Simply Tia — January 29, 2012 @ 4:02 pm

    This is lovely looking! I’ve never had grits before but I think it’s high time that I do.

  9. #
    9
    lookingforpemberley — January 29, 2012 @ 4:54 pm

    Oh my. I’ve never been tempted to try grits… before this post! Thanks for sharing! Looks really yummy :)

  10. #
    10
    Amy — January 29, 2012 @ 5:07 pm

    oh my gosh, these grits look AMAZING!!!! I love cheese grits and these ones look exceptionally cheesy and delicious :)

  11. #
    11
    Chica Andaluza — January 30, 2012 @ 2:57 am

    I want to go somewhere called Eureka Springs – love the name! These look gorgeous, well anything with cheese is good in my book :)

  12. #
    12
    ChgoJohn — January 30, 2012 @ 7:42 am

    These look fantastic, Christina. I can only imagine how great it must be to have one of these for breakfast. Yum!

  13. #
    13
    KimB — February 2, 2012 @ 2:51 pm

    I am a transplate to Arkansas..but have been here 20 years (longer than anywhere else). I have not made it up to War Eagle (must do that soon!)….and I have never made grits. Thanks for the recipe – I will definately have to try it!

  14. #
    14
    Lacy @ NYCityEats — February 2, 2012 @ 3:30 pm

    Oh wow this sounds so good! I tried grits recently & loved them! I’ve been looking for other ways to make them, this looks incredible, yum!

  15. #
    15
    Janet@FCTC — February 2, 2012 @ 5:13 pm

    One thing I have loved for years is grits. People say it’s an acquired taste but I’ve loved them since first bite many many years ago. And these look outstanding!

  16. #
    16
    Katie — February 3, 2012 @ 8:09 am

    Yum! I’ve never made grits before (Yep, a northerner), but I need to do it!

  17. #
    17
    imagesbytdashfield — March 7, 2012 @ 7:30 pm

    Mmmmmmmmmmmmm grits! Grew up on them and passed down the love of them to the next generations. Cheese grits are good but have you ever had shrimp and grits? Yum!

Leave a Comment