Shrimp and Grits

Valentine's Day is my least favorite holiday.  I think it is over-done and excessive.  This year, JB and I decided to stay in and skip the extravagant dinner.  Maybe it's a sign that we're getting old, but the thought of getting all dressed up to wait an hour or more for a mediocre dinner was not very appealing.

However, it is nice to get flowers no matter what day it is.  


I picked shrimp and grits for the menu because it's one of his favorites.  Shrimp and grits may seem like an odd combination to some, but trust me, it's delicious.  This recipe is a classic Charleston-style shrimp and grits. You can control the spice by using more or less of the Essence seasoning.  I used about half of the Essence seasoning for the shrimp, and then I omitted the second addition (see recipe below.)  I also recommend starting on the grits first. 


Shrimp and Grits

2 pounds medium shimp, peeled and deveined
Essence, recipe follows
8 ounces andouille sausage
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 cup finely chopped yellow onion
1/2 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
1/2 cup finely chopped green bell pepper
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons finely chopped green onions
2 tablespoons minced parsley
Charleston-Style Grits, recipe follows

Season the shrimp with Essence and salt. Heat a large, heavy saute pan over medium-high heat and sear the andouille, cooking for about 3 minutes. Remove the andouille to a plate, and add the shrimp to the pan, and cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Remove the shrimp from the pan, and heat the oil. Add the onion and bell peppers and cook until soft, 3 minutes. Add 2 tablespoons Essence to the pan, stirring well, then add the garlic and cook 1 minute. Add the chicken broth to the pan and cook until reduced slightly, 5 minutes.

Stir the cream, green onions and parsley into the sauce and return the andouille and shrimp to the pan. Return sauce to a simmer and continue to cook until reduced slightly. Stir well and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve over Charleston-Style grits.

Charleston-style grits

6 cups water
Salt to taste
1 1/2 cups quick cooking or old-fashioned grits (not instant!)
2 cups milk
1 cup heavy cream
8 tablespoons butter
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

In a large, heavy sauce pan bring the water to a boil. Add a generous teaspoon of salt and the grits and stir with a wooden spoon to combine. When grits thicken add milk, cream and butter and return to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover sauce pan and cook for 45 minutes to one hour, until grits are tender, smooth and creamy. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Keep covered and warm until ready to serve.

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

Essence (Emeril's Creole Seasoning)

2 1/2 tablespoons paprika

2 tablespoons salt

2 tablespoons garlic powder
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper

1 tablespoon dried leaf oregano

1 tablespoon dried thyme


Combine all ingredients thoroughly and store in an airtight jar or container.

Yield: about 2/3 cup

Source:  New New Orleans Cooking by Emeril Lagasse and Jessie Tirsch. Published by William and Morrow, 1993.


Jim Bob said...

My wife has become quite skilled in cooking. Almost every time she spends time in the kitchen I'm rewarded with an excellent meal. I've tried every dish she's blogged about and they all get my seal of approval.

That being said this recipe of Shrimp and Grits might be my favorite. To say I was blown away at how this dish turned out would be an understatement. I like grits, but normally they tend to come across as slightly bland. This recipe is quite flexible because you can adjust the grits to sauce ratio to get the perfect spice for your pallet.

Make sure to save the leftovers. I'm usually anti-left overs but this dish was better on day 2.

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