Use regular grocery store grits, like Arrowhead Mills brand. Do not use quick grits or artisan grits. Quick grits don’t have a good texture, and artisan or heirloom grits can take hours to cook.
- 2 cups water
- 2 cups whole or 2% milk
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup grits (I prefer yellow, but white grits are fine)
- 2 to 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 cups grated cheddar cheese
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 cup thinly sliced scallions or chives, optional
- 3 large eggs
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 2-quart casserole or 9 x 13-inch baking dish
1 Heat the oven: Adjust the oven rack to the middle position. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
2 Cook the grits: In a medium saucepan, bring the water and milk to a boil. Add the salt, then gradually whisk in the grits (this keeps them from clumping). Cook over medium heat, whisking frequently, until creamy and thickened, about 20 minutes.
Remove from heat. Add the butter, cheese, cayenne, black pepper, and scallions or chives, if using. Switch to a spatula and stir until the butter and cheese are melted. Cover to keep warm and set aside.
3 Separate the eggs: Separate the egg yolks from the egg whites. Put the whites in a large, grease-free bowl.
In a separate, medium bowl, stir the egg yolks and sour cream until combined.
4 Beat the egg whites: With electric beaters or the largest whisk you have, beat the egg whites until they are fluffy and pillowy-soft, like clouds. They should mostly hold their shape but not be completely stiff.
5 Stir the yolks into the grits: Working quickly, stir the sour cream and yolk mixture into the grits with a large spatula.
6 Fold the egg whites into the grits: Push the egg whites to the side of the bowl, and dump the hot grits mixture on the emptier side. Still using the spatula, fold the egg whites into the grits until you see no (or very few) streaks of egg white.
7 Bake the casserole: Scrape the mixture into the baking dish. Bake until the top is puffy and golden-brown, 35 to 45 minutes. Let sit 5 minutes before serving. Leftovers will keep, covered and refrigerated, for up to 4 days.