Serves 6 to 8
You can put this casserole together in half an hour and pop it in the oven an hour before dinner. It’s easy, homey, satisfying, stick-to-your-ribs food. If you don’t like hot peppers, substitute mild ones or leave them out. Serve with tart coleslaw or a green salad.
1. Combine the water, grits, and salt in a heavy-bottomed pan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the grits are barely tender.
2. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat and sauté the onions about 15 minutes, or until golden brown. Preheat the oven to 375°F and butter a 2- to 21/2-quart casserole. In a bowl, combine the milk, eggs, thyme, paprika, Tabasco, salt, and pepper, and stir well with a fork. Stir in 1 cup of the cheese.
3. In a large bowl, combine the grits, onions, chiles, and tomatoes, and toss well. Pour the milk mixture over them and stir to combine. Transfer the mixture to the casserole and spread it evenly; sprinkle with the remaining cheese. Bake 45 to 50 minutes. Remove the casserole from the oven, let stand 5 minutes, and serve hot.
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