Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Shrimp & Cheesy Grits

My co-worker, Howard, ever the intrepid traveler, brought me some stone-ground yellow grits from South Carolina and I thought - man, I have to do this ingredient justice! What better thing to do than a traditional Southern Shrimp & Grits? Having never made this dish before, my first attempt was pretty good but I think just a smidgeon too soupy as attested by the photo below. So I've adjusted the ingredients below for another future crack at this fantabulous concoction. 

Cheesy Grits:
1 cup stone-ground grits
4 cups water
2 cups milk
1 tbsp. unsalted butter
1 cup grated medium or sharp cheddar cheese
Pinch of black pepper

1. Bring 4 cups of water and 2 cups of milk to a boil in a medium stock pot. Whisk in grits, and bring back up to a boil over medium high heat, whisking frequently. 

2. When the mixture comes to a boil, reduce heat to a very low simmer. Simmer for 1 hour or until the grits are very soft and thick, using a whisk or wooden spoon to scrape up the bottom occasionally. 

3. Stir in 1 tbsp. butter, grated cheese and a pinch of black pepper, whisking to combine. Remove from heat, press the top with a sheet of plastic wrap or parchment paper to prevent skin from forming, cover the pan with a lid to keep warm, and set aside until ready to serve.

Stone-ground yellow grits from South Carolina. Stone ground takes at least an hour to cook versus the instant stuff, but is totally worth the extra time and effort. 

Bring the water and milk to a boil in a medium pan and add the grits.  

Stir and bring to a boil over medium high heat; reduce heat to a very low simmer and cook for 1 hour or until the grits are tender, scraping up the bottom occasionally with a whisk or wooden spoon.

 Stir in the butter.

Stir in the cheese and a pinch of black pepper. place a sheet of plastic 
wrap or parchment over the top to prevent a skin from forming, cover and set aside.


2 lbs. medium shrimp, shelled and deveined (reserve the shells)

Creole Seasoning Mix:
1 tsp. celery salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp. paprika

Shrimp Stock:
Reserved shrimp shells
4 cups water

6 slices bacon, chopped

8 oz. sliced button mushrooms
1 small green bell pepper, seeded and cut into small dice
1 large shallot, minced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp. chopped fresh thyme leaves
2 scallions, chopped  
2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
2 dashes of Crystal Hot Sauce or Tabasco
2 tbsp. flour
Pat of butter
2 tbsp. lemon juice (1/2 lemon)

Chopped scallion and flat-leaf parsley for garnish

1. Combine the Creole seasoning ingredients together in a small bowl and set aside. 

2. Place the reserved shrimp shells in a pot with 4 cups of water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer and cook until the stock has reduced by half. Strain and set aside.

3. Pat the peeled and deveined shrimp dry with paper towels, place in a bowl and toss with the creole seasoning. 

4. Cook the chopped bacon in a large pot over medium heat until rendered, stirring occasionally. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon to a small bowl; set aside.

5. Pour off all but 2 tbsp. of the bacon fat in the pan and bring back up to medium heat. Add the seasoned shrimp and cook, stirring occasionally until they just turn pink. Remove the shrimp from the pan and set aside.

6. Add remaining rendered bacon fat back to pan (3 tbsp. - if not enough, add olive oil) and heat to medium high. Add the sliced mushrooms and saute until browned. 

7. Add the diced green bell pepper, minced shallot, garlic, thyme, and chopped scallions. Cook 1-2 minutes, stirring frequently, until softened; stir in the Worcestershire sauce and a couple dashes of hot sauce. 

8. Sprinkle 2 tbsp. flour over the vegetable mixture to make a roux; cook about 1 minute, stirring constantly, to blend and cook out the raw taste of the flour. 

9. Add 1-2 cups  shrimp stock and bring to a boil; reduce heat to a simmer and cook 2-3 minutes or until the stock starts to thicken. Stir in a pat of butter. Add the reserved cooked shrimp and stir to combine.  

10. Turn off heat and stir in 2 tbsp. lemon juice. 

11. To serve: Spoon the shrimp over the grits and garnish chopped scallions, chopped flat leaf parsley and bacon bits, if desired. 

Pat the shelled & deveined shrimp dry with paper towels. 

Make the shrimp stock by combining the shrimp shells with 4 cups of water.

Simmer until reduced by half.

Strain the stock and set aside.

Toss the shrimp with the Creole seasoning and set aside.

Sliced mushrooms, shallots, lemon, fresh thyme, black pepper, garlic powder, celery salt, cayenne pepper, onion powder, and chopped bacon.

Render the fat from the chopped bacon.

Chopped scallion, thyme leaves, garlic and shallot.

Saute the shrimp in 2 tbsp. bacon fat until they just turn pink. Remove and set aside. 

Saute the sliced mushrooms until lightly browned. 

Add the chopped scallions, garlic, shallots and green bell pepper and saute briefly until slightly softened. Sprinkle with 2 tbsp. flour and cook 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly.

Add the reserved shrimp stock and bring to a boil; cook until the sauce has thickened. 

Stir in the reserved cooked shrimp.

Add a pat of butter. 

Turn off heat and add the lemon juice. 

Serve the shrimp over hot grits; garnish with chopped scallions, parsley and/or bacon bits as desired.

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