It’s almost here, y’all! The thought of Christmas morning still fills me with an almost child-like anticipation. It’s the only day out of the entire year when countless grownups feel such exhilaration at the thought of giving with abandon. And eating. One of the gifts I give my family is a beautiful Christmas morning brunch replete with butter, cream, cheese and sausage. It’s such a pleasure. It seems as I’ve gotten older I enjoy giving much more than receiving. Don’t get me wrong, a girl ALWAYS welcome another piece of jewelry. A little something which sparkles or glistens is a girl no-fail. And airline tickets. Let’s don’t forget the joy at receiving a big, fat, cross-the-big-pond, three-week long trip. Mercy. Give me a reason to dust off my passport and I’ll give you a sunny, charmingly reprehensible, generous smile that will make you melt into a puddle of love and adoration. Aside from those two things, I’d much rather plan a Christmas brunch offering which lets family members feel inclusion, happiness and comfort. And peace. I want peace. Personal and world-wide:) I told bff, Andrea, at the beginning of this past year that this was going to be OUR year. We’ve both had our ups and downs during 2018… a few more downs than we had expected including, for both, the loss of our fathers. Recently she said to me, “Ya know, you said this was going to be our year but it hasn’t been a very good one. I don’t know…” and, although I agreed with her, the remark stayed with me. For days it ricocheted inside my head like a bouncy ball until it dawned on me it was a HARD year but not necessarily a bad year. Yes, the deaths of our fathers brought unbridled grief but that also meant neither of them were still suffering. The thought occurred to me that, if well learned, these life lessons were actually gifts. I’ve learned some hard lessons this year but 2018 was still an okay. And that makes me feel next year’s going to be great. You reap what you sow. I SO look forward to some 2019 reaping. Here’s my gift to you. Merry Christmas, y’all!
Andouille Sausage & Grits Casserole
- 4 1/2 cups salted water
- 1 1/2 cups uncooked quick grits
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1/2 cup cream
- 2 8-ounce blocks extra sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
- 8 ounces cream cheese
- 3 large eggs
- 1 clove garlic, finely grated
- 1 1/2 pounds andouille sausage, for me that’s 2 12-ounce packages of Aidell’s cajun style andouille sausage, cut in small pieces
- 8 scallions, cut, including green tops
- 1 cubanelle or Italian long hot pepper, roughly chopped in small pieces
- 3 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
- Preheat oven to 350°. Cover a 9×13 pan with non-stick cooking spray and set aside.
- In a large pot bring salted water to a boil and whisk in grits. Lower the heat and cook grits another 7-8 minutes stirring often to avoid them sticking to the bottom of the pot.
- When cooked add the milk and cream and stir well.
- Add cheeses and continue stirring until all the cheese has melted then add eggs and garlic and stir until grits are smooth. Remove from heat, cover and set aside.
- In a large pan, lightly brown sausage. Add scallions, pepper and thyme.
- Remove from heat and stir to incorporate.
- Add sausage mixture to grits and gently mix.
- Pour into baking pan and bake 50-60 minutes or until edges are browned and top is golden.
- Allow to sit at room temperature 15 minutes prior to serving.
This casserole may be assembled up to two days prior to serving covered and refrigerated. Reheat leftovers in the oven at low heat.