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Grits, Cheese-Jalapeno (D, TNT)
Source: Self
Serves: 8

Butter for greasing casserole

3 cups water
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup quick-cooking grits
1 (8-oz.) package pasteurized processed cheese, sliced or diced, at room temperature
4 to 8 tbsp. (2 to 4 oz.) butter, at room temperature

Egg mixture:
2 large, extra large, or jumbo eggs
1/2 cup whole milk or cream
1/4 tsp. black pepper

1/2 cup coarsely chopped pickled hot peppers (e.g., jalapeno)
Approximately 3/4 cup (3 oz.) Monterey Jack pepper cheese, coarsely shredded or thinly sliced (or milder cheese)

Preheat oven to 300°F. Rub butter over bottom and sides of 2-quart casserole. Set aside.

Make Grits:
Pour water and salt into 3-qt. saucepan. Bring to full, rolling boil. Stir in grits. Reduce flame to medium-low so that mixture is simmering. Cover pot and cook until grits are thickened (about 5 minutes; they will still be slightly watery, and will not have finished cooking).

Add cheese and butter: Add pasteurized processed cheese. Cook uncovered, stirring occasionally, until melted. Turn off flame under pot.

Make Egg Mixture and Assembly:
Break eggs into small mixing bowl. Lightly beat. Add milk and black pepper. Beat until well-combined.

Add jalapeno peppers and egg mixture to grits. Stir until well-combined. Pour into casserole.

Bake at 300°F, uncovered, until set (about 45 minutes). Evenly top with pepper cheese. Bake 15 minutes longer.

Serve hot as a side dish (as you would mashed potatoes).

Leftovers can be covered, refrigerated, and reheated or fried.

Substitute regular (not instant) grits. Cook as directed on package. Proceed with recipe.

For a milder version, sauté 2 tbsp. finely chopped raw onion in some of the butter and add with a few drops of red pepper sauce instead of the jalapeno peppers.

After it has baked for 45 minutes, top with approximately 3 oz. thinly sliced American cheese or Monterey Jack pepper cheese. Bake 15 minutes longer.

Hot chile peppers can be substituted for jalapenos. However, reduce the amount (e.g., 1/4 cup). This can easily be made in a 12"x8" (or similar) baking pan. However, my 2-lb. casserole has a lid, which makes leftovers easier to store. Use whichever you prefer.

Poster's Notes:
Although no one I know of would eat plain grits (that's a southern food, and I'm in the northeast), EVERYONE loves these, and they reheat perfectly. (Note the variation with onions if you prefer milder flavors.)

The original recipe called for a full 1/2 cup of pickled jalapeno peppers, but there were only 1/3 cup in the can, and that was ample. The original recipe also called for topping with pepper cheese, but I don't bother with that, so made it a variation.

Although I wouldn't eat pasteurized processed cheese at gunpoint, it works fine here, and is easily kept on hand.

Posted by Virginia Sauer (Sir Angus), Z'L

Nutritional Info Per Serving: N/A