Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Shrimp and Grits

We have been having a ton of tasty new dishes lately, but I just haven't had a chance to sit down and post about them! Everyone else in my house is sleeping, so I'm trying to get some cleaning and blogging done while I have some alone time! This is actually the most recent thing we've had, and I'll admit I feel a little guilty not posting something older, but this was so incredibly good I didn't want to wait.

A few years ago we went on vacation to Myrtle Beach, SC with my mom and aunt. Boy #2 was only an itty bitty baby! While we were there we drove down to see Fort Sumter and Charleston for a day. The husband is a good ol' Southern boy and loved seeing such an integral site in the "war of northern aggression." We found a place for dinner before heading back to Myrtle Beach, and the husband had shrimp and grits. They were AMAZING. I came home wanting to make some, saved a recipe on Food.com and then proceeded to never, ever make it. Now fast forward to a week or so ago, and I was flipping through Cooking Light from a couple months ago and saw a recipe for crawfish and grits. Crawfish are hard to come by here in the desert, but I knew that shrimp was on sale, so I figured I could switch it up a bit. Grits proved slightly easier to find than crawfish, but it was still not an easy search. Or rather, non-instant grits proved difficult to find, but as everyone knows (or everyone who's seen "My Cousin Vinny") no self-respecting southerner (or self-respecting wife of a southerner) would ever make instant grits. So if you want non-instant grits, head to Trader Joe's, not Safeway. FYI. ;)

Shrimp and Grits
Adapted from Saucy Crawfish With Whole Corn Grits from Cooking Light, August 2012

3 1/2 cups 2% reduced-fat milk, divided
1 1/2 cups fresh corn kernels
1 chipotle chile, canned in adobo sauce
1 1/2 cups water
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup uncooked regular grits
2 ounces reduced-fat shredded cheddar cheese (about 1/2 cup)
3 tablespoons light sour cream

1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/4 cup finely chopped andouille sausage or kielbasa (about 1.5 ounces)
2/3 cup chopped onion
2/3 cup chopped green bell pepper
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons tomato paste
12 ounces shrimp
1 cup 2% reduced-fat milk
1/4 cup light sour cream
1/4 cup chopped fresh chives, divided

1. To prepare grits, combine 1/2 cup milk, corn, and chipotle chile in a blender; process until the corn is coarsely chopped.

2. Combine remaining 3 cups milk, 1 1/2 cups water, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a medium saucepan; bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Gradually add grits, stirring with a whisk. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 11 minutes or until thick, stirring frequently. Add corn mixture; cook an additional 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from heat; add cheese and 3 tablespoons sour cream, stirring until cheese melts. Keep warm.

3. To prepare shrimp, place flour in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat; cook 4 minutes or until lightly browned, stirring frequently. Remove flour from pan; set aside. Wipe pan clean.

4. Return pan to medium heat. Add oil and sausage to pan; cook 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add onion, bell pepper, garlic, thyme, and 1/4 teaspoon salt; cook 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add reserved flour, tomato paste, and shrimp; cook until shrimp are pink, stirring frequently. Stir in 1 cup milk; bring to a simmer, and cook 2 minutes or until sauce thickens, stirring frequently. Remove from heat. Stir in 1/4 cup sour cream. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon chives over shrimp mixture. Stir 3 tablespoons chives into grits; serve with shrimp mixture.


Since I was a grits cooking novice, the husband stepped in and helped me out a bit with them. He used to be a master grill operator at the Waffle House, so he knows a thing or two or twenty about cooking grits. I should add that I didn't really follow the grit cooking directions above. I did at first, but after 11 minutes my grits hadn't thickened at all, so I turned the heat back up and kept the cover off my pot. That worked much better, and the husband said he didn't know why you'd cover it and turn the heat down in the first place.

This was simply amazing and delicious and fantastic and tasty. I went a little overboard plating grits, but it worked out. They were so tasty with the added kick of the chipotle pepper in there and the fresh corn and creamy from the cheese and sour cream. The little chunks of andouille sausage mixed in with the shrimp was fantastic too. If you're not a fan of spicy, this dish probably isn't for you, but we loved it. I probably wouldn't serve this to my kiddos because they'd complain about too many aspects of it, but it's definitely something I'd make for the husband and me again!!

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