My all time favorite variety will always be a simple cheese grits. It's warming, fulfilling, and what's even better is the creamy cheese melted throughout the naturally sweet grits. But for this shrimp and grits recipe, grits is more like a supporting roll for the flavorful toppings. So the seasonings for the grits are toned down, but providing volume, in a way kind of like rice served alongside of broccoli beef stir-fry.
Shrimp and grits -
- 1/2 cup coarsely ground grits
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 1/2 cup sharp Cheddar cheese
- 8 to 12 whole shrimps, peeled, deveined
- 3 chorizo or spicy sausages
- 1 yellow bell pepper
- 1/2 onion
- 4 garlic cloves
- Some chopped scallion
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1/8 teaspoon smoked paprika
- Some salt
- Some freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1/2 cup chicken stock
Pour 1 1/2 cups water along with 1/2 cup grits to a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil then lower the heat to a simmer. Make sure to whisk the mixture once a while to prevent the grits from lumping and sticking to the bottom of the pan.
Simmer for a short moment then pour in heavy whipping cream, keep whisking constantly and still keep the mixture at a simmer. Cook till the grits turn soft and creamy with texture similar to Chinese porridge. Set aside and wait till the topping is almost ready before adding the Cheddar.
Meanwhile, marinate peeled and deveined shrimps with lemon juice and smoked paprika, just simple seasonings. Marinate for about 10 minutes. The shrimps will suck in that refreshing lemony aroma, even after cooking with other heavy tasting seasonings.
Peel and slice the onion. Prepare the yellow bell pepper and slice it too. Peel and roughly chop the garlic cloves.
Prepare another pan or medium pot, drizzle in some oil and turn to medium high heat. Once the oil turns warm, add in the sausages and sear till slightly browned. Scoop out the sausages and set aside.
Using the same pan or pot, add in sliced onion, bell pepper, chopped garlic, small pinch of salt, and small pinch of black pepper. Drizzle a little bit more olive oil if not enough oil left when searing the sausages. Give it a quick stir and cook till the onion turns slightly browned. Transfer the sausages and shrimps to the mixture and cook till nearly done.
Meanwhile, prepare a small or medium saucepan and add in the butter. Using medium heat to melt the butter then pour in the flour. Cook the floor till it forms a paste, continue to stir and cook till the mixture turns medium browned. Keep an eye on it because this roux can get burned easily. Lower the heat a little if needed.
When the roux is ready, add it to the shrimps and sausages mixture. Also pour in the chicken stock and the Worcestershire sauce. Gently mix together all the ingredients, the texture should start turning gravy-like.
While tending all these pans and pots in the kitchen, take a moment and pay attention to the grits. Add in the sharp Cheddar and keep whisking or stirring till fully incorporated. Taste and adjust the flavor with salt, about 1/2 teaspoon should do the trick.
Scoop some grits to the serving plate then transfer the toppings over. Sprinkled some freshly ground black pepper and garnish with chopped scallion.
This recipe can serve as a side dish or even as a hearty brunch on the weekend.
There are so many more grits variations and I already set my mind onto something, a savory grits bar, that way I can munch on grits with my fingers!
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