Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Grits and Greens Casserole

This is probably my last greens recipe for a while (one can hope). Now that I've gathered up some recipes I like, I'll probably just recycle those for a while. You'd think from the way I've been carrying on that I don't care for greens. Honestly, until this season I only really ate spinach. I'd eat a green if it was served to me, but I didn't go out of my way to cook them. I think also is that it's hard to cook the way I want to (one to two servings at a time) when you literally have a bushel of greens in your fridge. And every day I open the fridge they look a little sadder, forcing me to cook double batches or large serving recipes to use them up.

However, at the time I made this Eating Well recipe I was actually able to cut the recipe in half. But let me tell you, my excitement about this recipe could hardly be contained. Everything in it was something I liked grits, greens, cheese, and bacon! (Once again, this recipe could easily be made vegetarian with a few modifications.) It seemed a little odd to make this and I was really worried it would turn out gross, but I was quite pleased with the results. I served it with ham steak and salad and asked my friend Linc to come share this meal with me. He seemed to enjoy it, and Mallory enjoyed the ham and salad part. I actually ate the leftovers with a fried egg, and it was a great breakfast/brunch kind of thing!

Do you make any strange casseroles that sound like they'd be horrible (IE tater tot casserole), but are actually really tasty? Please tell me all about it in the comments section. If anything, just say hi and let me know you actually read this.

Grits and Greens Casserole
(Serves Six)

4 slices bacon, chopped (optional)
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 small onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth or vegetable broth, divided
1/4 teaspoon salt
16 cups chopped collard greens or kale, stems removed (about 1 large bunch, 1 1/2-2 pounds)
2 cups water, plus more as needed
1 cup grits (not instant)
3/4 cup shredded extra-sharp Cheddar cheese, divided
1/4 cup prepared salsa
1 large egg, lightly beaten

1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Coat an 8-inch-square baking dish with cooking spray.

2. Place bacon (if using) in a large Dutch oven. Cook over medium heat, stirring often, until crispy, 4 to 6 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Pour off the bacon fat.

3. Return the pot to medium-low heat; add oil, onion and garlic and cook, stirring often, until fragrant and starting to brown in spots, 2 to 8 minutes (cooking time will be quicker if you started with bacon). Add 1 cup broth and salt; bring to a boil over high heat. Add collards (or kale); stir until wilted down to about one-third the volume and bright green, 1 to 2 minutes. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until tender, 18 to 20 minutes. Adjust heat during cooking to maintain a simmer, and add water, 1/4 cup at a time, if the pan seems dry.

4. Meanwhile, bring 2 cups water and the remaining 1 cup broth to a boil in a large saucepan. Pour in grits in a steady stream, whisking constantly. Bring to a simmer, whisking constantly. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, whisking often, until thick, about 5 minutes. Combine 1/2 cup cheese, salsa and egg in a small bowl. Remove the grits from the heat and quickly stir in the cheese mixture until combined.

5. Working quickly, spread about half the grits in the prepared baking dish. Top with greens, spreading evenly. Spread the remaining grits over the greens. Sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 cup cheese and the reserved bacon (if using).

6. Bake the casserole until hot and bubbling, about 20 minutes. Let stand for about 10 minutes before serving.


  1. Hi Mandy, I always read your food blog. I am not a fan of casseroles but I do make a salad that looks pretty gross but tastes fantastic.

  2. Thanks for following the blog, Jen! I bet you make some really amazing salads. I just started making some pretty decent ones last winter.