Heartier, creamier, and more custardlike than a classic soufflé, this dish is also easier and less temperamental. It’s especially good for people who think they don’t like grits; we find they always come back for seconds! With the added spiciness from the peppers and texture from the corn, this dish is also delicious as a side to Balsamic-Roasted Chicken or Salmon Cakes with Crunchy Corn Relish, or Foster’s Salsa. If you don’t have a soufflé dish, you can use a shallow baking dish, but adjust the cooking time accordingly, since it will cook faster.
Serves 8 to 10
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
3 cups water
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups yellow grits (do not use quick-cooking grits)
3 cups milk
1 tablespoon sugar
2 cups (8 ounces) grated pepper Jack cheese
1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and diced
1 jalapeño, seeded and diced
Kernels from 2 ears fresh corn (1 cup fresh or frozen corn)
4 eggs, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
2 teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. Butter a 3-quart soufflé dish or 9 by 13-inch baking dish with 2 tablespoons of the butter and set aside.
3. Bring the water and salt to a boil in a medium saucepan. Reduce heat to medium and gradually add the grits in a slow, steady stream while whisking constantly. Cook and stir about 10 minutes, until the grits have thickened.
4. Add 1½ cups of the milk and cook and stir about 5 minutes more, until the milk is absorbed.
5. Remove from the heat and stir in the remaining milk, the remaining butter, and the sugar until well blended.
6. Add the cheese, red bell pepper, jalapeño, corn, eggs, thyme, and salt and pepper and mix well. Pour the mixture into the prepared soufflé dish and bake 45 to 55 minutes, until the soufflé has risen and is firm around the edges. The center should be slightly soft. Remove from the oven and let stand 5 minutes before serving. Serve warm.