Cheesy Ham, Corn, and Grits Bake Recipe

• 2 tablespoons salted butter
• 1/4 cup finely chopped yellow onion
• 2 teaspoons minced garlic
• 4 1/2 cups water
• 1 teaspoon table salt
• 1 1/2 cups uncooked yellow stone-ground grits
• 2 (8-oz.) pkg. cubed boneless ham, drained and patted dry with paper towels
• 1 (8-oz.) pkg. shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
• 1 (8-oz.) pkg. shredded extra-sharp Cheddar cheese
• 1 cup whole milk
• 1 cup fresh corn kernels (from about 2 ears)
• 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
• 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
• 4 large eggs, lightly beaten
• Tobasco sauce or equivalent , add to taste 

1. Lightly grease a 3-quart baking dish. Preheat oven to 350°F.

2. Melt butter in a Dutch oven over medium; stir in onion and garlic, and cook, stirring constantly, 2 minutes. Stir in water and salt, increase heat to medium-high, and bring to a boil. Whisk in grits, and stir in ham; return to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer, whisking occasionally, until thickened and grits are almost tender, 20 -22 minutes.

3. Remove from heat; add both cheeses, stirring until completely melted. Stir in milk, corn, thyme, pepper, and eggs. Add hot sauce to taste.

4. Spoon mixture into prepared baking dish.

5. Bake in preheated oven until golden and cooked through, 1 hour plus. Let stand 15 minutes before serving.