Tex-Mex Grits

December 27, 2007
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The good news about this yummy grits casserole is you have to taste it along the way to make sure the seasonings are right. Leave out the chili powder entirely for a milder taste or go for the burn. You can make it with regular grits, but the stone-ground variety, found in most natural foods sections, are much richer and nuttier. Do not use instant grits. SAM

3 cups water or chicken stock
1/2 teaspoon salt or to taste
1 cup stone-ground or regular grits (not instant)
8 ounces white Cheddar cheese, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/4 cup half-and-half
2 medium cloves garlic, pressed
3 eggs, lightly beaten
4 tablespoons butter (1/2 stick)
8 ounces hot or medium salsa
1 to 2 teaspoons chili powder (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. In a medium chef’s pan over high heat, bring the water and salt to a boil. Slowly whisk in the grits, reduce the heat to medium-low, and cook until thick, stirring frequently, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the cheese, half-and-half, and garlic, stirring until melted. Add the butter and eggs, stirring until melted. Add the salsa and chili powder. Taste a small amount to check the seasonings and add more salt and/or chili powder if necessary. Pour into a lightly greased 2-quart casserole and bake for 50 minutes or until lightly browned and firm.
Makes 6 servings.