As an impressionable Mississippi lass who wanted to absorb (literally and figuratively) everything I could about cooking, one of the kitchens in which I was most in awe was that of Sissy Eidt, mother of my friend Margaret. Sissy was constantly making casseroles, not only for her family, but also for others in need of edible TLC. And man, could she cook. This dish is a particular favorite. It’s adapted from Ladies’ Legacies in Natchez, a cookbook she co-wrote with her cousin Mary Eidt. This includes shrimp and crumbled bacon, which takes it over the top and on into heaven.
From Southern Casseroles, by Denise Gee.
- 3 Cups chicken broth
- 1 1/2 Cup quick-cooking grits
- 1 Cup half and half
- 1 Tablespoon vegetable or olive oil
- 1 10 ounce can mild diced tomatoes with green chiles, drained
- 1 1/2 Cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 Pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 1 Teaspoon cajun seasoning
- crisp and crumbled bacon
- sliced green onion
- hot sauce for serving
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
In a medium heavy-bottom saucepan, bring the broth and half-and-half to a boil. Gradually stir in the grits. Reduce the heat to low and cover, stirring occasionally, for 8 to 10 minutes or until the grits are tender. Add the cheese and stir until melted. Remove from the heat, stir in the tomatoes, and set aside.
In a large skillet, heat the vegetable oil over medium- low heat. Add the garlic and sauté for about 2 minutes, until tender. Increase the heat to medium and add the shrimp and Cajun seasoning, stirring constantly until the shrimp are coated with seasoning yet not cooked through, about 1 minute.
Pour the grits into a lightly greased 2½-quart casserole dish. Fold in the shrimp, ensuring the grits cover them (to keep them tender while baking).
Cover and bake for about 40 minutes, or until the casserole is set and the edges are golden. Garnish with the bacon and green onions, and serve with hot sauce on the side, if desired.