GINNA PARSONS: Easter gets warm start with casserole

GINNA PARSONS

GINNA PARSONS

Easter morning, to me, is the perfect occasion for a breakfast casserole. You can prepare and eat it before church, if you’re going, and it isn’t so heavy that it ruins your appetite for the big lunch you’re planning.

Sometimes, I make breakfast casseroles that start with chunks of bread, and then incorporate eggs, cooked meat and cheese. But I’m a pushover for a good grits casserole, especially one that features cheese, bacon and fresh herbs.

This recipe, which I’ve halved, is from “Glorious Grits,” by Susan McEwen McIntosh. The original, Susan says, comes from Patsy Riley, the former first lady of Alabama.

I plan to make it Sunday morning and serve it alongside fresh fruit and my husband’s homemade biscuits. This would also make an excellent brunch dish.

Bacon and Cheddar Cheese Grits Casserole

4 cups milk, divided

11⁄2 teaspoons salt

1 cup uncooked stone-ground grits

1 stick unsalted butter

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

2 teaspoons dried dill, thyme or sage or a combination of the three (or 1 tablespoon fresh)

1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese, divided

3 to 4 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled

Combine 3 cups milk and salt in a large, heavy saucepan; cook over medium-high heat just until the milk starts to boil. Gradually whisk in grits and butter. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 20 to 25 minutes or until thick, stirring often.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Remove grits from heat; add remaining 1 cup milk, stirring to cool grits mixture. Stir in eggs, herbs and 1⁄2 cup cheese. Pour grits mixture into a greased 9×13-inch baking dish; top with remaining 1⁄2 cup cheese. Bake, uncovered, for 45 minutes or until bubbly. Sprinkle crumbled bacon on top of casserole. Serve immediately.

Makes 7 to 8 servings.

Ginna Parsons is the Daily Journal’s food/home/garden editor.