Baked Cheesy Grits

8 cups water
2 cups coarse, stone-ground white grits (not instant) (12 ounces), rinsed
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 stick unsalted butter, cut into chunks
1/2 pound sharp white cheddar cheese, coarsely shredded
3 large eggs, beaten

Preheat the oven to 350°. Butter a 13-by-9-inch baking dish. In a large, heavy pot, bring the water to a boil. Sprinkle the grits into the water, stirring constantly, and return to a boil. Cook over low heat, stirring frequently, until the grits are just tender, about 30 minutes. Season generously with salt and pepper and cook, stirring, until the grits are very thick and tender, about 10 minutes longer. Off the heat, stir in the butter and cheese, then stir in the eggs.

Pour the mixture into the prepared dish and bake for 1 hour, until bubbling and the top is golden. Let the grits casserole cool for 20 minutes before serving.

The baked casserole can be refrigerated overnight. Reheat before serving.

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