Shrimp and Grits

One of my best friends got me The Southerner’s Cookbook for Christmas. Produced by the editors of Garden and Gun magazine, the book is pretty enough for my coffee table… and it features essays by some of my favorite Southern food writers. I’ve had fun trying out some of the recipes, and will try to post more in the next few weeks.

And with the school year getting back into swing, we’ve needed some weeknight recipes that are ready in under 30 minutes but still brighten up these dreary winter nights. This had an amazing depth of flavor and even my pickier kid devoured it. I used frozen Gulf shrimp and it turned out better (and quicker!) than I dared hope.

I streamlined the recipe quite a bit (and left out the mushrooms, because my 13 year old can’t even. Just ask him.)

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups chicken or shrimp stock, divided
  • 2 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 1 cup grits
  • 1/2 cup finely shredded Parmesan
  • 2 ounces sliced bacon
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 small yellow onion, diced fine
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 14 1/2 ounce can peeled whole tomatoes
  • 1 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined and thawed (if frozen, which is what I used)
  • 1/2 tsp Cajun seasoning, such as Tony Chachere’s
  • Juice from 1/2 lemon
  • Hot pepper sauce, such as Tabasco

Method:

In a large saucepan, bring 3 ½ cups salted stock to a boil.  Add the butter and then pour the grits in a steady stream while continuously whisking. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Stir in the Parmesan and add salt and pepper to taste.

Meanwhile, place a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Cook the bacon until the fat has rendered and the bacon is crisp.  Remove the cooked and set aside.  Drain a little of the bacon fat (about half) and add a little olive oil to the pan. Sauté the onion until it is translucent and soft.  Add the garlic and cook for about a minute. Drain the tomatoes and break them apart with your fingers.  Add them to the pan and cook for 5 – 7 minutes.

Sprinkle the shrimp with cayenne and add them to the skillet. Cook until they are pink and opaque, about 3-4 minutes.  Add the lemon juice, the remaining ½ cup of stock, hot sauce to taste, and 1 tablespoon butter. Cook for 2-3 minutes until warmed through.

Spoon the grits into bowls and top with the shrimp.  Garnish with crisped bacon, if desired.  (This is not pictured, since my kids can smell bacon from a half mile away and had demolished the garnish before the grits were finished).  Enjoy!

Adapted from “Shrimp and Rice Grits,” from The Southerner’s Cookbook, by the editors of Garden and Gun.

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