What makes people happy?
Delicious homemade food. Food that feeds that soul and nourishes the body.
Sometimes all I want to feed my family is something that says, “comfort.”
We could all use a little comfort thesse days.
I know I could.
And what is more comforting than Shrimp and Grits?
Fresh catch Florida gulf coast shrimp and stone ground grits.
And not just any shrimp ‘n grits, but the ultimate creamy grits and shrimp cooked in a delicate but spicy seafood stock. This dish is based off the America’s Test Kitchen recipe- the purveyors of the kitchen experience perfected, but sometimes “fussingly” so.
My first attempt, I followed their recipe to the letter using Anson Stone Mills Pencil Cob Grits . I have to admit: these grits are divine. They become creamy, but still retain a tiny bit of bite. The only place I could buy them locally has closed so I have to mail order the grits. Okay- as soon as I’m mail ordering something, it goes way down the list. Also, these grits tend to toughen in the freezer over time and the third time I made the dish, the grits did not soak up my seafood stock. Grrr. They also take double the amount of time to prepare- almost 45 minutes. A great substitute is any stone ground, NOT INSTANT, grits. Whisk them once or twice during cooking to help them absorb the milk and prevent lumps from forming.
I ended up using Bob’s Mill Organic Stone Ground Grits/Polenta. Buy at Publix and Whole Foods for just $3.50 a bag.
My recipe calls for adding cayenne pepper to the grits. I felt they needed a little something. I also add green bell pepper to the shrimp. The green pepper added so much flavor- well worth the tiny bit of extra effort. The recipe would be fun to make with your holiday guests. Put Aunt Ashley on grits patrol, have your son in laws peel and clean the shrimp and the kids can whip up the corn bread. Use my cornbread recipe- found here.
Southern Shrimp 'n grits<br>To Make the grits: 25 minutes
4 TBSP unsalted butter, divided
1 cup stone ground grits- I prefer Bob’s Mills Organic Grits
2 cup whole milk
2 cups water
1/2 tsp salt- more if needed to taste
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
- In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt 2 TBSP butter. Stir in 1 cup of grits and coat well cooking until the grits smell toasted- about 2-3 minutes. Add 2 cups whole milk, 2 cups water and 1/2 tsp kosher salt. Increase heat and allow grits come to a boil.
- Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for about 25 minutes. Whisk often to prevent the grits from clumping or sticking to the bottom of the pan.
- Stir in remaining 2 TBSP butter. Season with salt, if needed, and 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper and 1/4 tsp black pepper. Cover to keep warm while preparing shrimp. If you use Anson Mills grits- increase the cooking time by another 20 minutes. They cook very slowly.
Shrimp- serves 4
3 TBSP unsalted butter, divided
1 1/2 lbs extra large ( 21-25 shrimp per lb) peeled and deveined shrimp- save the shells & tails
1 TBSP tomato paste
2 1/4 cups water
3 slices bacon, cut into bite sized pieces
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 TBSP flour
1/2 cup green bell pepper, finely chopped
1 TBSP fresh lemon juice
1 tsp Tabasco
1/4 cup green onions/ scallions, sliced on the diagonal for garnish
salt & pepper to taste
1 tsp Old Bay seasonings
Method- Prep time 20 minutes Cook time 20
- In a 12 inch skillet over medium heat, melt 1 TBSP butter. Add shrimp shells and saute until shells are browned- about 5-7 minutes. Stir in 1 TBSP tomato paste and cook for 30 seconds. Add 2 1/4 cups of water and bring to a boil, then cover and simmer for 5 minutes.
- Strain the shrimp through a fine sieve, pressing to release all the juices through. You should have about 1 1/2 cups of seafood stock. Add more liquid if needed.
- Cook 3 slices chopped bacon in the same skillet- it is seasoned with good stuff. Cook bacon until crispy- about 8 minutes. Wipe clean any extra fat. Add 1 1/2 lbs of shrimp, 2 cloves chopped garlic, 1/2 cup green bell pepper, salt and pepper and cook shrimp until the edges are just pink- but not thoroughly cooked through- about 2 minutes. Transfer shrimp to a platter (with all juices) and keep warm while you finish the sauce.
- In the same pan, melt 2 TBSP butter over medium low heat. Whisk in 2 TBSP flour to create a roux and cook for 1 minute- do not burn! Slowly add shrimp stock and whisk until all ingredients are well blended. Bring to a boil, then reduce to low and let simmer until slightly thickened about 5-7 minutes.
- Stir in shrimp and all the juices and cook about 3 minutes. DO not overcook the shrimp. Add in 1 TBSP lemon juice, OLD BAY, Tabasco and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve over grits, top with chopped green onions/scallions.