This easy make-ahead recipe for cheesy sausage grits casserole will make any breakfast or brunch feel special.
“Brunch is cheerful, sociable and inciting…. It is talk-compelling. It puts you in a good temper, it makes you satisfied with yourself and your fellow beings, it sweeps away the worries and cobwebs of the week.” –Guy Beringer, “Brunch: A Plea”
Now if you can’t trust the words of 1800’s English writer, who can you trust? We love brunch. It just seems like the perfect opportunity to gather friends, food, a few drinks, and enjoy the day. It lacks the pressure of a big dinner, but has more ceremony than a quick lunch or happy hour. The fact that you can eat both savory and sweet entrees with wild abandon is also a big plus. This recipe for Cheesy Sausage Grits Casserole is super easy, leaving you with that much more time to sit back with some mimosas.
You start off by cooking up your breakfast sausage, making sure to break up the larger chunks as it cooks. It’s up to you as to what kind of sausage you want to add. I tend to go for a less spicy variety because you’ll be adding some chiles and hot sauce, but if you like it hot, go for it. While the sausage is cooking, chop and measure the remaining ingredients. I would recommend draining the sausage thoroughly so you don’t end up with too much grease. It’s likewise important to drain the chiles, or the casserole won’t set.
Once the sausage is cooked, and everything else is prepped, make your instant grits. The “instant” part is key. This is a time where the extra processing really is a help. We’ve tried it with regular grits, and you end up making a sausage grits porridge, which is still tasty, but not what we’re aiming for. Usually this is a 2:1 ratio of boiling water to dry grits, but follow your particular brand’s instructions if in doubt. Mix it thoroughly, then add everything but the cheese for the topping and mix again. Spread it into your handy 9” x 13” dish, add your cheese topping, and the active part is done! At this stage, you can even put it in the fridge for the next day so that all you have to do is pop it in the oven.
Growing up, brunch was typically tied to a holiday: Easter, day after Thanksgiving (close enough), and Christmas. This casserole almost always made an appearance because we all loved it. Now that I’m a full-fledged adult (or at least Liz tells me I have to act like one), I get to enjoy brunch out more often, but when I’m serving at home, I’m definitely happy to dish this up to family and friends.
Recipe adapted from Colorado Cache.
- 1 lb. breakfast sausage
- Hot sauce, to taste
- 1 clove of garlic, minced
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 1 cup instant grits
- 2 cups boiling water
- 1 cup grated extra sharp cheddar, plus ¼ cup for topping
- ¼ cup butter
- 2 large eggs, beaten
- 1 8 oz. can green chiles, chopped
- 1 chopped green onion and a handful of cilantro, for garnish (optional)
- Preheat oven for 350.
- Cook the sausage until browned. Drain, then add hot sauce, garlic, salt, and pepper. Stir well.
- Boil water, then add grits and cook.
- When grits are cooked, combine all ingredients except the ¼ cup of cheese for topping. Pour into a greased 9 x 13 glass casserole dish.
- Bake uncovered for approximately 60 minutes. (Although start to check it at 45 minutes.)
- Add the ¼ cup cheese about 5 minutes before you pull the casserole. The casserole is done when it is lightly browned and set.
- Garnish with green onion and cilantro, and serve.
Recipe adapted from Colorado Cache.