Sausage and Cheese Casserole
Real American Breakfast
no reason Southerners should get to keep this splendid
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.
teaspoon salt, or more to taste
1 cup stone-ground grits (see note)
1 pound breakfast sausage, crumbled and fried until
1/4 pound mild or smoked cheddar cheese, grated (about
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 teaspoon Tabasco, Texas Pete, or other hot pepper
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
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.
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
until puffed and lightly set, 35 to 40 minutes.
slice the scallions, both white and green parts, into
sections about 2 inches long. Cut each section into
long, thin strips.
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.
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.
© 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.