This casserole was originally shared with me by my sweet friend Phyllis many years ago. She and her sisters would bake it every Christmas Eve for their family. I began to bake it for my non-Southern grandparents every Christmas Day, and they loved it so much it became our own family tradition. We loved all its cheesy, comforty goodness. I have since adapted it, adding greens to lighten and freshen it up. I love how their spicy crispness balances with the salty sausage and gooey cheese. YUM!
- 1 lb. sweet sausage
- 1 lb. hot sausage
- 3 cups fresh arugula
- 1 cup coarse ground grits (cooked according to directions and cooled)
- 1½ cups whole milk
- 3 eggs, slightly beaten
- 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 cups grated extra sharp cheddar cheese
- 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon white pepper
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Place both sausages in a large skillet and cook on medium heat until just done, but not brown, 7-10 minutes. Break the sausage into small pieces with the back of a wooden spoon while cooking. Remove with a large slotted spoon and place into the bottom of a 9"x13" baking dish.
Layer 2½ cups of the arugula on top of the sausage.
In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the grits, milk, eggs, butter and 1½ cups of cheese. Add the salt and pepper and whisk again. Pour over the greens and smooth the top with a spatula. Scatter the rest of the cheese on top.
Bake for 1 hour until golden and bubbly. The edges and top should be slightly brown.
Remove from the oven and let rest for 5 minutes. Layer the remaining greens on top just before serving.