Jul 25 2010

Southern-Style Shrimp & Grits

Published by at 10:35 pm under Brunch,Dinner,Lunch

Although most people imagine Mississippi as a hub for consuming grits, my mom only makes them once a year, at Christmas brunch. Along with about a hundred other side and main dishes, she whips up her version of gruyère grits that I adore, topped with mouth-watering grillades that take her all day to make (it’s worth it, trust me).

So my grits experience may be more limited than you’d guess, but they’re still close to my heart. I’ve been wanting to personalize them and make them my own, so I decided to try a simple shrimp and grits meal for dinner this week. Grits for dinner was a welcome change of pace from the usual grains (pasta, risotto, etc.), but keep in mind it’s a perfect brunch and lunch meal, too.

There’s no wrong way to make shrimp and grits. In fact, I read several recipes for it while looking for inspiration, and no two were quite the same — so you have plenty of freedom to experiment with different vegetables in the mix, and even different proteins (andouille sausage sounds awesome in here).

Oh, and I did cheat a little. I used polenta from the bulk foods aisle, because it’s just a little tricky to find grits in Northern California. I know they’re not quite the same, but it was the best I could do. Don’t hate.

Shrimp & Grits

Ingredients (Serves 4):

2.5 cups low-sodium chicken broth

2.5 cups water

1 cup stone-ground grits or polenta

1 cup white cheddar cheese, grated

1 tbsp. honey

1 tsp. cayenne pepper

1 lb. bacon, chopped into bite-size pieces

2 tbsp. sugar

4 small cloves garlic, minced

2 bunches collard greens (about 20 stems), torn or chopped

2 yellow peppers, chopped

2 small yellow onions, chopped

About 2 cups chopped okra

1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth

Juice of 4 lemons

1 lb. shrimp, peeled and deveined

For the grits:

Bring chicken broth and water to boil in large pot. Slowly whisk in grits or polenta, and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for about 15 to 20 minutes, whisking occasionally. Remove from heat and stir in cheese, mixing well. Then stir in honey and cayenne pepper. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

For the shrimp:

Cook bacon and sugar in large pan on high heat for about 5 to 7 minutes, or until the bacon is cooked through and caramelized. Remove bacon from pan and set aside, keeping the drippings. Pour out about half of drippings, and reserve the rest in the pan.

Reheat drippings in pan and add garlic and collard greens. Sauté for 3 to 4 minutes or until greens begin to soften and wilt. Add peppers, onions and okra, and sauté for another 7 to 10 minutes, until vegetables start to brown slightly. Add broth and lemon juice and let simmer, stirring, for 5 more minutes.

Once most of the liquid has evaporated from the pan, add in shrimp and sauté, stirring, for 3 to 4 minutes, until shrimp is pink and cooked through.

Serve shrimp and vegetable mixture over grits.

Served with a Golden Beet and Goat Cheese Salad

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