So here’s the skinny: I co-host a bible study for a great group of gals every other Thursday. While food is never mandatory, feeding people makes me extremely happy and I can’t help but want a little something on the table for the ladies. A very good friend of mine, and a member of our study, was recently diagnosed with a gluten allergy. Yikes, for so many reasons, yikes. What an adjustment it must be to know the joys of bread, only to find it has been plotting against your body all this time. I can’t even imagine the level of betrayal she must have felt. Poor sweet friend.
Almost everything I make has some small (sometimes large) increment of wheat flour in it. I am a baker after all. It took me a pretty serious mental rundown of options before I came up with a breakfasty dish I could serve that didn’t include bread or pastry crust. Waffles or pancakes, cinnamon rolls or loaf cake…nope, can’t do that. I mean really, like bacon, eggs…annnnnnd, blank. What was I gonna do? Fry a thousand pieces of bacon and flip five hundred eggs? No thanks. Now, I am sure you are all either thinking (1) man, her bible study is huge, or (2) her friends can seriously put away some food.
The true facts of the matter are that I just don’t like playing the role of a short order cook (especially when company arrives in the morning), and also that I am obviously an over-exaggerator. That being said, casseroles are always a breakfast/brunch no-brainer for me. So, there I went, rifling through the pantry like a mad woman. Searching for ingredients that I could turn into a casserole, and wouldn’t send my dear friend’s body into gluten shock frenzy. That’s when I saw them: those perfect little grains of hominy, us folks from the south like to refer to as grits, y’all. It all just evolved from there. “Poaching” an egg has never been easier.
- 1 Tbsp Canola Oil
- 3 Tbsp Unsalted Butter separated
- 12 oz Gluten Free Chicken Sausage Links largely diced
- 6 ½ c Unsalted Chicken Broth
- 1 tbsp Kosher Salt
- 2 c Southern Style White Corn Grits preferably Bob’s Red Mill*
- 4 oz Havarti Cheese Freshly Shredded
- 3 tbsp Chives minced
- ¼ c Heavy Cream
- 1 tsp Black Pepper
- 8 Eggs
Preheat oven to 425° and have ready a greased/nonstick 9x13” casserole dish. In 12” cast iron skillet, heat canola oil and 1 tbsp butter over medium-high heat. Add sausage to skillet and cook, stirring every few minutes or so, until sausage has browned slightly on both sides, about ten minutes. Remove skillet from heat and set aside.
In a large saucepan, bring 6 ½ c of chicken broth to a boil along with 1 tbsp kosher salt. Slowly whisk in grits, knock heat down to low and stir frequently. Allow grits to simmer for 15-20 minutes until no longer hard or chewy.
If your liquid has evaporated before the grits have softened, add a ½ c of water and stir until absorbed. Once grits have reached desired texture, stir in cheese, 2 tbsp butter, chives, cream and pepper. Gently mix in sausage. Spoon the grit mixture into the casserole dish and smooth over the top. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside until cooled, about 20-30 minutes.
Once cooled, holding an egg upside down, gently press it into the casserole until the egg is halfway submerged (about 1” deep) and give it a gentle wiggle, creating eight evenly spaced divots slightly larger than the diameter of the egg. Crack an egg into a small prep bowl, and very gently, slide it into one of the divots, taking care not to break the yolk. Repeat with each egg. Bake for 15-20 minutes, depending on how runny/well-done you want them.
*Do not substitute Instant Grits for this recipe.
Would pair well with: