Grits & Greens Casserole

This was a perfect side dish to a southern feast we had over the weekend. This mixes several of my favorite foods together in one creamy dish: polenta, bacon, cheese, and greens. Personally, (and probably because I have a slightly unhealthy relationship with bacon) the crispy bacon along with the creamy grits was the best part, but the bacon could easily be omitted for a vegetarian option. Yum!

Also, the dish is very forgiving. Throw whatever greens you have in there, and keep it in the oven until you’re ready to serve. The original recipe’s instructions just said to bake “until lightly browned”, which I translated to about 30 minutes. Turns out we weren’t quite ready to eat then and the dish stayed in the oven for an hour total…and was totally fine. Love that!

Grits & Greens Casserole
Serves 5
Recipe by Just the Tip / Inspired by this recipe

Here’s what I used:

  • 1 cup fat free half and half
  • 4 cups chicken broth, divided (or veggie stock if you’re going vegetarian)
  • 1 cup corn meal, regular
  • 1 10-oz box collard greens, frozen
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 1 cups grated pecorino (or parmesan) cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 6 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled

Here’s what I did:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350. Spray a baking dish with cooking spray. Bring the half and half and 3 cups of chicken broth to a boil. Whisk in the corn meal, then continue stirring with a wooden spoon over medium heat until it comes back up to a boil. Reduce the heat to simmer, cover & cook for 30 minutes or so, stirring occasionally. Add more half and half if needed.
  2. In a small sauce pan, heat the remaining cup of chicken broth over medium-high heat. Add the collards, cover, and cook for 10 minutes. Drain & blot dry with paper towel to remove excess water.
  3. Add the butter & cheese to grits and then stir in collards. Transfer to a casserole dish and top with crumbled bacon. Bake @ 350 degrees until lightly brown on top, 30-60 minutes.
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