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Recipes

Sausage and Cheese Casserole

From A Real American Breakfast

There’s no reason Southerners should get to keep this splendid soufflé-like
casserole to themselves. This version comes from South Carolina, and it’s as great for supper as it is for breakfast. It’s also surprisingly light. If you’re in a rush, you can use quick-cooking grits to eliminate about 20 minutes of prep time (see note). The casserole won’t be quite as spiffy as the classic version, but it will be really good. You can put the casserole together the night before and just bake it in the morning.

Serves 6

3/4 teaspoon salt, or more to taste
1 cup stone-ground grits (see note)
1 pound breakfast sausage, crumbled and fried until well browned
1/4 pound mild or smoked cheddar cheese, grated (about 1 cup)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 teaspoon Tabasco, Texas Pete, or other hot pepper sauce
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
1–2 scallions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter a medium baking dish. Bring 4 cups water and 3/4 teaspoon salt to a boil in a large heavy saucepan over high heat. Whisk in the grits, a handful at a time. Reduce the heat to a bare simmer and cook the grits until thick and soft, 30 to 40 minutes.

Stir the grits occasionally as they cook, more frequently as they thicken, scraping them off the bottom to prevent scorching. If the grits become too stiff to stir easily before they are cooked through, add a bit more hot water.

 

Remove the grits from the heat and stir in the sausage, cheese, butter, and hot sauce. Check the seasoning, adding more salt and hot pepper sauce if you wish. Mix in the eggs, stirring briskly. Spoon into the prepared baking dish. (The casserole can be made to this point, covered, and refrigerated overnight. In the morning let it sit at room temperature for 20 to 30 minutes before baking.)

Bake until puffed and lightly set, 35 to 40 minutes.

Meanwhile, slice the scallions, both white and green parts, into sections about 2 inches long. Cut each section into long, thin strips.

When the casserole is ready, spoon it onto plates immediately or let it cool for about 10 minutes and then cut it into soft-textured squares. Garnish each portion with a little shower of scallion strips, and serve.

cook’s notes

* To use quick-cooking grits instead, reduce the amount of cooking water to the amount listed on the package. Be sure not to use instant grits.

* The casserole is only as good as the sausage you use. If you don’t have a good local country sausage, look for nationally distributed brands like Jones or Jimmy Dean.

Copyright © 2003 by Houghton Mif?in Company. Introduction copyright © 2003 by Fran McCullough and Molly Stevens. Foreword copyright © 2003 by Alan Richman. Reprinted by permission of Houghton Mifflin Company.

 

 

 

(Updated: 10/27/08 SN)


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