Yield: approximately 6 servings
1 cup chopped smoked sausage
½ cup chopped onion
2 teaspoons minced fresh garlic, divided
5 cups chopped fresh collards
5⅔ cups water, divided
1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar
2½ teaspoons kosher salt, divided
½ teaspoon sugar
½ teaspoon ground black pepper, divided
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1½ cups white stone-ground grits
2 large eggs
¼ cup all-purpose flour
½ cup finely shredded smoked Gouda cheese
1. Preheat oven to 375°. Spray a shallow 2-quart baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. In a large skillet, cook sausage and onion over medium heat until sausage is lightly browned and onion is softened, approximately 3 minutes. Add 1 teaspoon garlic; cook for 1 minute. Add collards and ⅔ cup water. Cook until collards are wilted and most of liquid has evaporated, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in vinegar, ½ teaspoon salt, sugar, and ¼ teaspoon pepper.
2. In a large saucepan, bring remaining 5 cups water and cream to a boil over medium-high heat. Stir in grits, remaining 1 teaspoon garlic, remaining 2 teaspoons salt, and remaining ¼ teaspoon pepper. Reduce heat, and simmer until tender and thickened, 30 to 35 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat.
3. Crack eggs into a small bowl; gradually whisk in 1 cup hot grits. Stir egg mixture into remaining hot grits; whisk in flour.
4. Spread two-thirds of grits in bottom of prepared dish. Top with collard mixture; spread remaining grits over collard mixture.
5. Bake for 25 minutes. Remove from oven; sprinkle with cheese. Return to oven, and bake until grits are set and cheese has melted, approximately 15 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving.