Here in the Northeast where I live, grits are not a regular staple of our diet, but when I travel South I always make it a point of having some, because I have grown to like them as a breakfast item with a little syrup and butter on them. Serving them as part of my main meal is new to me. However, since I had visitors from North Carolina, I decided to try to cook them a “real Southern meal”, and I had come across this recipe for grits served with nicely seasoned shrimp in a gravy to spoon over them. Let me tell you right at the start that this was a big success, so I am very happy that I was adventurous enough to try this recipe.
In the detailed recipe below, I caution you not to use quick or instant grits. They become very bland, and the texture is suspiciously like cream of wheat cereal–in my mind this is not a good thing!!! The grits you want to use are stone ground. They have a lot of texture and that makes all the difference. The other key to success is to season the shrimp liberally with Old Bay and hot sauce, so they are very spicy. If this is a problem for anyone ( me, for instance), go light on the hot sauce, and serve more on the side for those who want to add more. Although this was my first time making this dish, I know for sure it won’t be the last. My guests and Mr. D. really liked it, and so did I.
Although I haven’t done this yet, I plan to use up the left over grits for breakfast, rewarmed in a skillet with a little butter to crisp up the edges. Then serve with a fried or poached egg on top and some nice smoky bacon. OOOOOW, can’t wait for breakfast. 😀
SHRIMP AND GRITS
Yield: 4 servings
- 1 lb. raw medium-large shrimp, shelled and deveined
- 1 1/2 tsp. Old Bay seasoning
- juice of 1 lemon
- hot sauce, to taste
- 1 1/2 cups coarse ground corn grits (such as Bob’s Red Mill) Note: do not use quick grits, they become too pasty.
- 6 cups water
- 1 tsp. salt
- 3 slices bacon, cut into thin strips
- 1 large, or 2 small cloves garlic
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 1/2 cup scallions, sliced
- 2 Tbsp. flour
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- black pepper, to taste
- 2 Tbsp. butter
- 1 can ( 14 oz.) creamed corn
- 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1. In a large bowl, combine shrimp, lemon juice, Old Bay seasoning, and a few shakes of hot sauce (to your taste). Let sit for a few minutes while you start the grits.
2. Bring the 6 cups salted water to a rolling boil. Gradually stir in the grits making sure they are well incorporated. Reduce heat to very low, and simmer for about 15 minutes. Stir frequently to prevent sticking. When they are thickened, turn off heat, cover and keep warm.
3. Meanwhile heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add bacon and cook until crisp. Remove bacon with a slotted spoon to paper towel to drain.
4. In the drippings in the skillet, cook chopped onion over medium heat. When onions become soft, add minced garlic, and cook till softened, about 1 minute more.
5. Add shrimp and all its seasonings and cook about 3 minutes, turning until all are pink. Remove contents of skillet to a bowl using a slotted spoon, leaving behind any liquid.
6. Make gravy: Stir scallions and 2 Tbsp. flour into skillet, stirring to make a paste,
slowly add the chicken stock, 1/2 tsp. salt and a little black pepper. Cook and stir until this is slightly thickened.
Add the shrimp and bacon pieces back into this mixture, keep over low heat just to warm through.
7. Finish grits: Stir butter, cheddar cheese and creamed corn into warm grits. Stir to incorporate. Return to heat if they need to be rewarmed a bit.
To serve: Pour grits onto a platter or individual bowls. Top with shrimp mixture. Serve with additional hot sauce on the side.
SOURCE: Southern Living Magazine