Shrimp and Grits
(American, Southern-Soul shrimp and gravy over grits)
4 to 6 servings
For the Shrimp:
- Butter or oil -- 1/4 cup
- Flour -- 1/4 cup, plus 1 tablespoon
- Shrimp, peeled and deveined -- 1 pound
- Salt and pepper -- to season
- Onion, finely chopped -- 1
- Bell pepper, finely chopped -- 1
- Garlic, minced -- 3 cloves
- Chicken broth -- 1 1/2 cups
- Scallions, chopped -- 2
For the Grits:
- Chicken broth or water -- 3 cups
- Heavy cream -- 1 cup
- Salt -- 1 teaspoon
- Quick grits -- 1 cup
- Heat the butter or oil in a skillet over medium-low flame. Whisk in the 1/4 cup flour and cook slowly, stirring frequently, until the flour colors a deep reddish brown, anywhere from 15 to 20 minutes. Take care not to burn. This is your roux.
- While the roux is cooking mix the shrimp together in a bowl with the 1 tablespoon of flour remaining, salt and pepper. Set aside.
- Stir the onion and peppers into the roux and cook for 2 or 3 minutes, or until the onions soften and become translucent. Stir in the garlic and cook for another 30 seconds. Finally, stir in the shrimp and cook for another minute or so.
- Whisk in the chicken stock and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 2 to 3 minutes, or until the sauce thickens. Adjust seasoning and set aside while you make your grits.
- Bring the chicken broth or water, cream and salt to a boil in a saucepan over medium flame. Slowly stir in the grits. Cover, reduce heat to low, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 to 6 minutes. For creamier grits, cook a few minutes longer.
- Put a scoop of grits into each serving bowl and top with the shrimp and its sauce. Garnish with chopped scallions and serve hot.
Shrimp and Grits Variations
- Shrimp and Grits with Mushrooms: eliminate the bell pepper and substitute 1/2 pound of sliced mushrooms.
- Shrimp and Grits with Sausage: Stir in some sliced, browned garlic sausage with the shrimp if you like.
- Stone-Ground Grits: for a high quality dish, stone-ground grits are really the way to go. They take a lot longer, but the difference is real. Follow the package instructions to make enough for 6 servings.
- Cheesy Grits: Stir 1 1/2 cups of shredded Cheddar cheese into the grits at the end.
- Chop and saute a couple pieces of thick-sliced bacon in the skillet and use the fat from the bacon for the roux. Add more butter or oil as necessary to bring the total fat amount to 1/4 cup.
- Add a squeeze of lemon or lime or a couple of dashes of Tabasco sauce at the end to give the sauce a boost of flavor.