Greens and Grits Casserole

Bacon, grits and cheese will make anything taste good, so if you aren't a big fan of cooking greens, just work this little bit of magic on them. This dish is good enough to serve as a side at Thanksgiving, since green beans aren't in season (sniff sniff--eating locally does have its drawbacks sometimes...)  

Preparation

Ingredients

4 slices bacon, chopped (optional)

2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 small onion, diced

4 cloves garlic, minced

2 cups 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 (or polenta)

3/4 cup shredded extra-sharp Cheddar cheese, divided

1/4 cup prepared salsa

1 large egg, lightly beaten

 

Preparation

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

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.

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.

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.

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).

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

Tip: Butternut Squash Puree

Don't trade this. Eat it! This pint of thick, rich, all-the-work-has-been-done-for-you goodness is a keeper! You can make so many kinds of yummy sweet or savory dishes with it, like butternut squash risotto, soup, ravioli, lasagna, muffins, pancakes, oatmeal, brownies, or cookie bars.Read more

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