Wednesday, April 28, 2010
Let me preface this post by saying this: After I ate this dish, I'm pretty certain I had died and gone to heaven! I know you probably think I'm being a little dramatic and normally I am, but this time, I promise I'm not. Promise. I'll be the first to admit that Southern cooking has won my heart over, for sure, but this recipe pretty much takes the cake as far as favorite meals go!
First off, if you've never had grits, you should definitely try them. Although I caution you on where you have them because I've been to some places where they're not very good, especially if you're a grits virgin - they could scare you away! Essentially, grits are ground corn and they come in 2 different kinds: white and yellow. Like oats, you can get them stone ground (which is the best option), quick cooking or instant (which I don't recommend). They resemble the taste and texture of polenta...slightly sweet, but thick and creamy. And traditionally, they're served for breakfast but are eaten at any time of the day (especially in our house)!
Shrimp and grits is a very popular dish among the South (primarily on the East and Gulf coasts) and there are a variety of ways to prepare it; however this dish really hits the target in combining a base of creamy and cheesy grits with a slight hint of hot sauce topped with perfectly cooked shrimp in a gravy made of bacon, onions and peppers. Honestly people, it doesn't get any better than this! And if you're still a grits virgin, this is definitely a great recipe to break you in!
Creamy Shrimp & Grits
1 1/2 lbs. Shrimp, peeled and deveined
Hot Sauce (I use Frank's) to taste
1 1/2 Tsp. Salt
1 1/2 cups Stone-Ground Grits (white)
6 slices Bacon, chopped
1 Sm. Onion, chopped
1 Sm. Green Pepper, chopped
2 cloves Garlic, minced
1/2 cup Scallions, sliced
2 Tbsp. Flour
1 cup Chicken Broth
2 cups Cheddar Cheese
In a medium bowl, combine the shrimp with the juice of the lemon and several generous splashes of hot pepper sauce; set aside.
To make the grits, bring 6 cups of water and 1 Tsp. of salt to a boil in a large saucepan. Gradually whisk in the grits and reduce heat to low. Let simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Meanwhile, in a large skillet, cook the bacon over medium heat until browned. Add in the onions and green peppers; continue cooking until onions become translucent and peppers are tender. Stir in the garlic and scallions and let cook up for 1 minute. Sprinkle the flour over the mixture and continue cooking for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in the chicken broth and remaining salt and cook until thickened (about 5 minutes).
While the gravy is thickening, add the butter to the grits and stir until melted. Stir in the cheese and season with hot pepper sauce and salt to taste.
Once the gravy has thickened, add in the shrimp and cook until pink (about 3-5 minutes).
Spoon the grits into a large shallow bowl and top with shrimp mixture; serve immediately.
Note: If using Quick-Cook Grits, follow the directions on the package to prepare them.
Yield: 4 Servings
Source: Adapted from Ezra Pound Cake, originally adapted from "A Real American Breakfast"