Baked grits with mushrooms and green onions

By Katherine

Just a small slice of heaven

We’re planning a quick trip to New Orleans for my birthday next month and one of the restaurants everyone says we should try is called Jacques-Imo’s Cafe. We’re more than game, I mean honestly smothered chicken, shrimp and alligator cheesecake, fried grits? We’re so there. Except, there’s just one minor snag. They don’t take reservations and they routinely have waits of more than an hour, or so my coworkers say. On my birthday, a Saturday!, I want to be seated promptly and have a neverending supply of cocktails or good wine and still make it back to our hotel early enough to … watch the Food Network. What? We don’t have fancy cable at home. So we’ve made reservations at a place so swank that Greg is getting his suit — the one he wears only at weddings or funerals — dry cleaned.

Still, there’s just something about that cafe menu. So if we don’t make it on another night we’ll just have to settle for a recipe we found on Epicurious that is from the popular joint. We had it one Sunday for brunch with Fifteen Spatula’s bacon and toast cups. If you’ve liked the Rufus Guide on Facebook, you may have already seen the link to this article on five overlooked Southern ingredients, not surprisingly grits and sorghum made the list. If you haven’t liked us on Facebook please do. If you haven’t tried grits, you really should.

The only changes to the grits were the type of cheese. The original calls for cheddar and Monterey Jack. We also invented a topping, but it’s fine all by itself. Baked grits are creamier and fluffier than their stovetop cousins. They’re perfect for breakfast, lunch or dinner.

Baked cheese grits (adapted from Jacques-Imo’s Cafe)

  • 4 cups water
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup quick-cooking grits
  • 1 cup coarsely grated extra-sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup coarsely grated aged provolone
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 2 large eggs

For topping

  • 1 tbsp sherry
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup slice mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup green onions

Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter 8x8x2-inch baking dish. Bring water, butter, and salt to boil in a three- to four-quart saucepan. Gradually whisk in grits. Reduce heat to medium; cook until mixture thickens slightly, stirring often, about eight minutes. Remove from heat. Add cheeses; stir until melted. Season with salt and pepper. Whisk milk and eggs in small bowl. Gradually whisk mixture into grits. Pour into prepared dish. Bake until grits feel firm to touch in center (grits will still be soft), about an hour. Let stand 10 minutes. For topping, heat olive oil over low heat until warm, do not allow to burn. Add mushrooms and green onions, saute until tender, about three to four minutes. Add sherry and cook a minute longer. Serve over warm grits.

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About Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide

This blog attempts to collect some of the things I try to create with food and booze. Sometimes I succeed and sometimes I fail. My hope is to entertain and maybe help people think a little harder about what they decide to eat and drink.
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87 Responses to Baked grits with mushrooms and green onions

  1. Joanne says:

    YAY!!!!!!!! I’ve been waiting for this!!!! My husband is going to be so excited!!! He’s a total grits fanatic, and I love them too. Thank you!

    • katherine says:

      I love that you and someone else asked for this. I always figure grits aren’t that popular. And they do start on top of the stove. I swear it was like a creamy grit cake!

  2. Zo Zhou says:

    Yum yum, those flavours sound wonderful together! I have a favourite cornbread recipe and love to have it with chevre, but will top with mushrooms & spring onions (that’s what us kiwis call them!) next time. Ah, so much salivating, so little time…

  3. BrainRants says:

    So simple, yet so ‘holy shit’

  4. Kristy says:

    Happy birthday a bit early!!! Have a fabulous time in New Orleans! That is one city on my short-list of places to hit sometime in the next five years. Can’t wait to hear about the trip and the meals. I’m sure they’ll be delicious. This recipe looks like fun and I have a thing of grits sitting in my pantry that would love to find their way into something tasty. :)

    • katherine says:

      Thanks, Kristy. I hope you go. I think Greg will have to leave the camera home when we go to Commander’s Palace, because I want his undivided attention on my birthday and I want him enjoying the meal too. But I have a theory that there are muffalettas as big as his head and I really want to test that theory. Pictures will be forthcoming!

  5. rutheh says:

    I have never cooked grits (or okra). I guess it is about time!
    Have a wonderful time and enjoy the TV shows. And Happy Birthday to YOU!!!

  6. Did you just post grits.. OMG I am in heaven. You know I am such a southern grit eater lol. Love this recipe.. and you know I will be making it ASAP. Gotta love those grits. I should get a shirt that says “Got Grits”.. totally suits me lol.

    • Katherine says:

      You know sometimes when I know something Southern is coming up, I think oh I can’t wait to see Kay’s reaction. And yes, you need that shirt!

  7. I’ve never had grits before, but these look delicious!

  8. Katherine says:

    Thanks, definitely give them a try some time.

  9. That’s going to be one helluva b-day trip! Can I pretend like it’s my b-day too? LOL!

    Love, love they sherry in that sauce. The whole dish looks delicious!

  10. I haven’t had grits in a long time….

  11. Jessica says:

    One of my roommates adores New Orleans because she went to college there. I should make this for her (and the rest of us)! I’ve tried grits, but they were just plain with butter at Cracker Barrel many years ago. Lame. Sounds like you’re going to have a great birthday weekend!

  12. This is probably going against my Southern childhood home, but I’ve never liked grits! My family was very much an oatmeal family. This was a great photo, though!

  13. Tandy says:

    those are adult grits! Have a super birthday and enjoy New Orleans. Pop in to Cafe Du Monde and have hot chocolate and beignets. And a hurricane is the cocktail I remember best enjoying whilst there. Travel safely :)

  14. Amazing!!! Love all main ingredients, and you’re right, together they are heaven!

  15. afrankangle says:

    This seems to have a lot of good flavors, but one problem for me – Grits aren’t my thing! Well, that could mean I’ve never had good grits. :) … An early Happy Birthday for whatever Saturday it is – besides, New Orleans is a great place to eat, drink, and celebrate an occasion.

  16. Mmmmm, loves me some grits! And, if I tell all these Yankees up here that it’s “baked polenta”, they’ll eat it….just like I tell my southern relatives that it’s “egg and cheese pie with rocket,” not arugula quiche…

    Happy Birthday, and have a safe trip…

  17. Lea Ann says:

    We truly loved Commander’s Palace. A very special dining experience. As you’re getting ready to leave, ask them for a tour of the kitchen. I did and they walked us through. The service is impeccable, the atmosphere dreamy and the food is remarkable. Only other place I’d recommend is Gallatoires.

  18. ceciliag says:

    I have never made grits. i would not even know what they look like in the store, but for you Katherine i shall hunt them down and give it a try. So if greg is wearing a suit you must be wearing something with ridiculously high heels! c

  19. Kelly says:

    Happy Happy Birthday Katherine – I hope you have a fantastic trip and be sure to snap a picture of your hubby in his suit – I’m sure we’d all love to see it! :) Gorgeous looking polenta.

  20. Enjoy your celebration! I love grits and these look tremendous.

  21. zestybeandog says:

    I’ve been there! It’s so good and when I left, I could barely walk, yes… I over did it but it was wayyyy worth it! These grits make me want to go back :) Have fun on your trip to NOLA!

  22. egg me on says:

    Oooooo! Great recipe. Love the mushroom topping. There’s a restaurant in my neighborhood that serves shrimp & grits, with little bits of bacon on top … and I’ve been obsessed with them for a few months. This recipe may have just inspired me to make my own! Have a great time on your birthday trip!

  23. spicegirlfla says:

    I love New Orleans and what a great place to dine for your birthday!! I had a job oppty to move there but decided it was more a place to visit than live. I’ve been the Commanders Palace and if you can, the brunch is awesome too!! I’m not familiar with that Cafe, but I’ve found there is rarely a bad place to eat there. I’ve just gotten into eating grits for breakfast and have not tried it with cheese and such as this so I must be missing out! I’ll have to replace the mushrooms with another veggie but it looks comforting good!!

  24. ChgoJohn says:

    It’s been ages since i’ve enjoyed grits and these, being baked, sound delicious. That’s quite a birthday you’ve planned. Good for you!

  25. in the words of my truly southern grandmother WELL DONE! Grits alone are fantastic with the creaminess and shear goodness of the butter (I have to add butter to mine and lots of it) but add in the addition of mushrooms and green onions and this dish is taken to a whole new level! I love it and since hubby is gone away o business I can make it for me, myself and I. He is not a grits fan-

    • katherine says:

      Thanks, Jessica. I love recipes that are just so perfect that you know when you look at them you won’t have to change a thing! (Toppings don’t count.)

  26. martko1964 says:

    This sounds really great. I am going to have to give these a try this weekend.

  27. Courtney says:

    We needed a good grits recipe! Our always turn out grainy, but we don’t let them bake in the oven for a long time either… Oh, and have fun in New Orleans!!

  28. Yum! This is just a couple steps away from one of my favorites…shrimp and cheese grits. Have fun in NOLA – a great place for wonderful food! And happy birthday too!

  29. niasunset says:

    I’ve learned that tomorrow is dear Katherine’s Birthday! I wanted to say her “HAPPY BIRTHDAY” and to have a nice Birthday. With my best wishes and love, nia

    • katherine says:

      Nia, you are such a darling. I didn’t mean to confuse everyone, my birthday is next month! I fixed that, but maybe I shouldn’t have, all these birthday wishes three weeks early are so fun!

      • niasunset says:

        This is nice dear Katherine, it means it will be a celebration once again :) You are so nice, Thank you, Have a nice and enjoyable times in New Orleans! With my love, nia

  30. Sissi says:

    I have never cooked grits but this dish looks strangely similar to polenta (sorry for my ignorance). You have talked about grits so many times, I would love to taste them one day. I have to go and check the American grocery shop (yes! we have an American grocery shop here!).
    Have a great time in New Orleans and Happy Birthday!

    • katherine says:

      It’s hard to describe the difference, but grits are much more country cooking here and polenta is a bit more refined. Although, grits are in fancy stuff too. I know it’s so confusing. Thanks for the birthday wishes. I still have three weeks until my birthday. I should’ve made that clearer, but I am pretty excited!

  31. boogie. says:

    so weird. i was just telling a friend last night that i haven’t had grits/polenta in awhile. i guess i know what’s for dinner tonight!

  32. Nice looking place. I was just going through the menu (starting with the dessert one of course)…wonder if that would be too far to go for my birthday next month too.

    • katherine says:

      It’s what like a 15-hour flight from Sydney (am I remembering your locale right) to LA? And only about um, four? from there to NOLA.

  33. I’ve never had grits but when I do, I think they should look like these. So creamy and fabulous looking. No FoodNetwork? Is that a joke? I sure hope not.

  34. Happy early birthday Katherine! I loved New Orleans — we were there in early spring in 2004. We stayed at the Ritz which was at the edge of the French Quarter (still considered in the French Quarter). We liked it because it was quiet — the French Quarter can get loud and rowdy. We tried one of Emeril’s restaurants I think it was just called Emeril’s — it was OK. Noisy, expensive and they had us out in less than an hour (I really hate that — when I spend that much on dinner, I would like it to linger!). I would highly recommend the walking tours put on by either the Louisiana Historical Society or the Louisiana Landmarks Society – sorry I cannot recall; we did two of them and both were incredible (and I believe inexpensive). We did the French Quarter and the graveyard tour. As an alternative, you could also purchase as self guided tour on iTunes (we did that for the South Shore Seaport in Manhattan).

  35. scholasticfood says:

    Oh my gosh! Baked cheese grits alone are wonderful. Throw in mushrooms and sherry and I swear I’m in heaven. Lovely dish :)

  36. Caroline says:

    My family is getting more and more Southern, now that we have a place in South Carolina. So, I’m all about these grits, they sound delicious! Happy early birthday, by the way. It sounds like you guys are going to have a blast in New Orleans. I’ve always wanted to visit. Eep no Food Network? I spend an obscene amount of hours watching FN shows…I’m pretty sure it’s not normal.

  37. Charles says:

    Now I just need to find a place in France selling grits and I’ll be well away, lol. Lovely looking dish… is it a bit like polenta?

  38. I reckon, these would be good for breakfast, lunch and dinner! Superb recipe!
    Have a happy day. :-) Mandy

  39. Awww, just got back from New Orleans and missing it! Have a sazerac at Napoleon House, you won’t be disappointed. And have a GREAT time.

  40. Mmm, I’ve never tried baking grits before. Your description of the difference in texture is intriguing.

  41. Oh my, now this sounds and looks great and I will definitely have to try it. I love baked grits and so does my whole family. Just mention grits and we’re at the table!

  42. I love this recipe – looks fantastic! And I´m so excited for you both for your forthcoming birthday celebration. Getting dressed up, swanky restaurant, amazing food and cocktails….and cable…what more could a birthday girl ask for !

  43. Yum! This, I am trying. I have some leftover red speckled grits I need to use up. They are very hearty and I think would hold up well and make a great entree prepared thusly. Thanks for sharing!

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