Welcome to the South!

I’ll eat grits pretty much any time of the day and almost any way they come.  One of my favorite variations on grits is the classic Shrimp and Grits.  I make it about 6 times a year and have consulted dozens of recipes.  Tonight I decided the try The Neely’s version from the Food Network.   Good call!

Shrimp and Grits

You can make all kinds of adjustments to this recipe without degrading it.   The recipe below reflects my changes for tonight.  Click on the link to see the original.   For the grits:  I left out the cream in the grits because I didn’t have any and you really don’t need it.  A little milk in with the stock does just fine.  If you’re one of those fabulous people who does their peeling, chopping, etc. ahead of time try using the shrimp shells and tails, onion skins and pieces and some celery to make shrimp stock.  Use that instead of chicken stock for your grits.  Feel free to use stone ground grits if you like.  Just remember to start them far enough ahead of time.  The quick grits work just fine.  It should go without saying that you should never use instant grits.  I mean really, have some pride.

For the shrimp:  I used turkey kielbasa tonight because I happened to have some in the house.  Feel free to substitute tasso ham, country ham, andouille, etc.  You’re looking for a salty, smoky flavor so pick your favorite.  I prefer wild caught Carolina shrimp.  They have a nice size to them and I like to support the shrimpers.  Any fresh shrimp will do.  Larger ones look nicer if you’re serving for company.  Happily I have tomatoes from my garden that I canned over the summer so I used those.  Store bought ones work perfectly well, but any time you can use homegrown absolutely do.

Good?  Yes!
Easy? Yep.
Special shopping? Get your shrimp the same day you make the dish
Good for company? Definitely. Good for brunch, lunch or dinner. Feel free to make your grits ahead of time so you have less to do once your guests arrive. If you do let them cool and press them into a baking dish. Before serving bake the grits in the oven and slice into squares or triangles, ala polenta. Serve shrimp over the grits triangles.

Shrimp and Grits

Ingredients
Grits:
4 cups chicken broth
1/2 milk
1 cup quick cooking grits
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon butter
1/4 cup Parmesan
Shrimp:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 pound smoked turkey kielbasa, sliced
2 pounds uncooked large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/4 C dry white wine
2 C diced, peeled tomatoes
Chopped chives, for garnish

Directions
In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, bring the chicken stock, and whipping cream up to a low simmer. While simmering whisk in the grits and a pinch of salt. Stir constantly and return to a low simmer. Cook until thickened, stirring often, about 5 minutes. Stir in the butter and Parmesan cheese. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper.

Heat a large saute pan over medium-heat. Melt butter and saute onion, garlic, and green bell pepper. Saute until tender and translucent, and add the sausage. When the sausage has cooked, add the shrimp and saute for about 2 minutes. Add white wine and diced tomatoes. Bring to a boil, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Serve over the Parmesan cheese grits. Garnish with chopped chives.

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