Today’s guest post is by the Amazing Aubrey, Harrisburg’s finest cat whisperer. She made this delicious meal in protest of our “shrimpless repertoire.” Bug her on Twitter @aubrowe –MSK3K
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Serves: 4 people with healthy appetites
Difficulty: If you can cut things up and have a strong whisking arm, you’re golden.
Recommended side dishes: Crusty buttered bread for sopping up the delicious gravy at the bottom of your bowl, salad, cooked veggies and booze. Definitely booze. Maybe some bourbon to keep with the Southern theme.
For the grits:
- 2 cups milk
- 2 cups water
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 cup grits
- Black pepper
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 4 ounces sharp Cheddar cheese
For the shrimp:
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 medium white onion
- 1 garlic clove
- 1 pound Andouille or another spicy sausage, cut in chunks
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 2 to 3 bay leaves
- 2 pounds large shrimp
- Pinch cayenne pepper
- Juice of ½ a lemon
- 2 tablespoons parsley
- 4 green onions
And First…We Grit.
Northerners have a bad impression of grits. I’ve recently heard the phrase “mushy cardboard” being used in reference to their taste. These people simply have not had good grits. Also, if you plan to use “instant” grits, please do not read any further. Thank you (and please view this memorable scene from “My Cousin Vinny.” Even Joe Pesci knows that instant grits are gross: http://movieclips.com/Z4VDx-my-cousin-vinny-movie-magic-grits/).
Now, let’s cook.
Put 2 cups of milk (whatever you have in your fridge), 2 cups of water and salt in a sauce pan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil and whisk in 1 cup of grits. Immediately turn the heat to low and cover. Cook for 15 to 20 minutes, whisking every few minutes to ensure the grits are not sticking to the bottom and that they don’t form lumps (lumpy grits = no bueno).
Deux: Cheese ‘Em Up!
Once the grits are thick and creamy, take them off the heat and whisk in pepper and butter. Once the butter is melted, add the grated cheese and stir until it is a delicious amalgam of grits and butter and cheesy goodness. Set aside on a warm burner until the shrimp concoction is ready.
***Note: if you feel that your grits have gotten too dry, just add a bit of water or milk over low heat, whisk in and bring those grits back from the dead. Grit CPR.
Three: Cut Things with Your Knife and Cook Them.
Dice one medium white onion and mince a clove of garlic (or two if you’re like me and always add extra garlic), and throw them in a large, deep-sided skillet coated with extra virgin olive oil over medium heat. Sauté them for a few minutes until they’re translucent (don’t burn the garlic!).
Cut the sausage into chunks and add to the onions and garlic mixture. Go ahead and add some salt and pepper at this step for flavor while you’re at it. Sauté until the sausage begins to brown, and there is fat in the pan. Sprinkle the mixture with the flour, and stir it into the fat and mix with a wooden spoon until absorbed. Congratulations! You just made a roux, which means you’re on your way to a luscious thick sauce or gravy (fat + flour = roux).
Four: It’s Gravy, Baby
Add the chicken stock slowly, stirring with the spoon as you go to avoid flour lumps. Continue stirring until the sauce comes to a boil, and then add the shrimp (make sure you peel them first)!
Cook the shrimp in the sauce (stirring occasionally) until they turn a delightful pink color. As soon as they all are pink, turn the heat to low (no one likes a rubbery, overcooked shrimp).
Add a pinch of cayenne pepper (or more, for the brave-at-heart), and the juice of half a lemon. Add some more salt and pepper to taste, then stir in chopped parsley and green onion for extra flavor. Plus it makes it look pretty.
Step 5: Food Coma
Spoon the cheesy grits into a bowl, then top them with a bit of shrimpy-sausagey heaven. If you’re a real warrior, add some tabasco as you eat. And don’t you dare let the gravy remnants at the bottom of that bowl go to waste. Grab some good crusty bread and sop that ish up (definition: sop (sp), verb. To dip, soak, or drench in a liquid; saturate).
We love comfort food. And do we love us some shrimp n’ grits (see what I did there… “and do we”…”andouille”…nevermind…).