Grits falls into the category of Things I Never Tried Before We Moved to Tennessee. Also in this category? Sweet tea, real cornbread, greens, and white beans as a side dish, not IN something.
My parents are from Ohio; so even though we lived in Virginia, she just didn’t cook like a Southerner. (Besides, I’ve learned that Virginia, at least Richmond, is SO NOT THE SOUTH.) Mom likes unsweet iced tea, fried mush, Jiffy corn muffins, and sugar on everything. I’ve recently become an unsweet-tea lover, but other than that, I’m not big on some of those Midwestern foods.
So when I moved to Tennessee, I hesitantly started trying some of the local foods (and ones my husband, having grown up in South Carolina, already loved).
Grits were my favorite revelation. Now I know with lots of butter, salt, and a dash of Frank’s Red Hot Sauce, they can be the perfect breakfast.
It’s Secret Recipe Club time; and when I saw this grits and sausage casserole on The Heritage Cook I jumped all over it. Cheese grits? GOOD. Jalapeno cheese grits with sausage gravy and more cheese on top? VERY GOOD.
Jane, The Heritage Cook, is not only a great chef but our Secret Recipe Club Group A hostess! She’s always generous and wonderful on our Facebook page and it was an honor to get to cook from her site this month. Her site has SO many recipes I was blown away!
(And I really did want to make Ohio Cheese Pie with Tomato Gravy, in honor of my mom, but I wasn’t sure anyone else in my family would eat it.)
So without further ado, here’s the recipe for Sausage Gravy Cheese Grits. I actually cut down the sausage from 2 pounds to 1, because Jane, as much as I love you, having 2 pounds of sausage on a breakfast for 6-8 people kind of scared me.
Sausage Gravy Cheese Grits
- 3 cups grits, cooked (about 3/4 c. uncooked)
- 1 jalapeno, seeded and deveined, diced finely
- 2 green onions, chopped
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 c. shredded cheddar cheese
- 1 lb. breakfast sausage
- 2 T all-purpose flour (or gluten-free flour to make this recipe GF)
- 1 c. half-and-half
- 1 c. shredded cheddar cheese
Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a 9x13 cooking dish.
Prepare grits according to package directions. Halfway through cooking time, add jalapenos and green onions. When the grits are cooked, remove from heat and stir in cheese. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Pour cheese grits into prepared baking dish.
Cook sausage in a skillet, breaking up into small pieces with a wooden spoon. When it's completely cooked, sprinkle with flour. Stir with spoon to incorporate and cook for a minute. Add half and half, stir well, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
Cook until gravy is very thick. Poor sausage gravy over grits layer. Sprinkle with 1 cup cheese.
Bake dish for 30 minutes, until bubbly and cheese is melted. Let set for about 10 minutes then serve.
You can also prepare the night before and refrigerate, covered. Cook 45-60 minutes if your casserole is cold.