I grew up in South Carolina, where grits are a breakfast staple. Add some salt, pepper, butter and mix in your bacon and eggs and I’m a happy girl. My Nana would make a huge pot of grits; she cooked them perfectly, not too thick, not too runny, and not too lumpy. In fact, a bill in South Carolina states:
Whereas, throughout its history, the South has relished its grits, making them a symbol of its diet, its customs, its humor, and its hospitality, and whereas, every community in the State of South Carolina was once the site of a grits mill and every local economy in the State used to be dependent on its product; and whereas, grits has been a part of the life of every South Carolinian of whatever race, background, gender, and income; and whereas, grits could very well play a vital role in the future of not only this State, but also the world, if as Charleston’s The Post and Courier proclaimed in 1952, “An inexpensive, simple, and thoroughly digestible food, [grits] should be made popular throughout the world. Given enough of it, the inhabitants of planet Earth would have nothing to fight about. A man full of grits is a man of peace.”
Well, I moved to Texas and most folks don’t really eat grits. Imagine my delight when I saw shrimp and grits on the menu at Fire Oak Grill in Weatherford, TX. The owner, Eric Hunter spent some time in Georgia and brought this dish back to Texas and it’s to die for! The only problem, because lots of butter, flour and oils get added to the dish, it’s very high in calories. I looked through the recipe and saw this has the potential to be a very tasty, healthier meal! Take out the butter and flour from the roux and substitute a healthy thickener called arrowroot powder and give me a bowl!
The recipe we came up with was the best shrimp and grits I’ve ever tasted! It’s sure to impress and although it looks like a lot of steps, it’s very easy to follow and make! I highly recommend purchasing stone ground grits instead of instant grits, which can become mushy.
Also, if you’re like my mama, devein the shrimp- I know you can’t taste it but she can’t get her mind off of “eating the poop.”
Shrimp and Grits
- 1 1/2 lbs u10 marinated gulf shrimp shell*
- 1/2 lbs andouille sausage*
- 2 cups fresh home stead gristmill grits*
- 1/4 cup local goat cheese
- 2 cups promiseland 2% milk
- 4 cups shrimp stock (you can buy seafood stock or make your own)
- 1 bunch fresh parsley
- 2 large carrots
- 4 okra pods
- 1 large yellow onion
- 1 stalk celery
- 15 cloves garlic
- 1 red bell pepper
- 1 poblano pepper
- 2 Tbsp arrowroot powder
- 2 Tbsp smoked paprika
- 2 large local tomatoes
- 1/4 cup white wine
- 1/4 cup evoo
1. Peel and devein shrimp, saving all shells for shrimp stock.
2. Make Shrimp stock
- Cut celery, onion, carrot, garlic into 1/2 in x 1/2 in dices
- Crush garlic with knife blade
- In a 10 qt sauce pot, add all ingredients: shrimp shells, and one large tomato chopped plus 1 tablespoon smoked paprika.
- Fill pot with hot water. Leave enough room for the liquid to boil (2 in from the top ).
- Bring to a boil then reduce heat to a simmer. Let simmer for two hours if time allows. This can be done the day before if need be.
3. Roast chiles – If you have a gas range or open flame this works best. Toss chiles in 2 tsp of olive oil and sprinkle a pinch of salt over both. Roast over open flame until the entire chiles are charred. Let cool for a few minutes then remove all skin and seeds. They are ready to use now.
4. Shrimp marinade- Take half of the roasted chiles and add to blender, also add 3 cloves of garlic and 1/4 large yellow onion. Turn on blender to medium setting, adding Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Just enough to make everything smooth. Toss deveined shrimp in marinade let stand in refrigerator for about and hour.
- In a Medium sauce pot on medium high heat add 1 tbsp evoo.
- Sauté 1/4 cup small diced yellow onion and1 tbsp minced garlic. Constantly stirring to keep form burning.
- Once it becomes translucent, deglaze with 1/4 cup white wine.
- Once its reduced almost all the liquid, add the milk. Let the milk come to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer and start stirring in grits.
- Start to add 4 oz of shrimp stock at a time until it absorbs all the stock then add more.
- Fresh grits take 45 minutes to an hour to cook. Grits will need to be stirred often through the whole process. The consistency will become very thick.
- Once the grain starts to become soft, its done. Add goat cheese stir in well and salt & pepper to taste.
6. Remove skin from sausage and cut 1/8 in slices on a bias.
7. Cut okra in half longways. In a large saute pan add 1 tsp evoo on high heat. Place okra skin side up and let sear for 1 minute. Remove okra and save for later.
8. Add another tbsp of evoo on high heat and cook shrimp until ALMOST done and remove.
9. In the same pan add sausage, julienned chiles, and 1 cup shrimp stock. Let cook for 2 minutes.
10. To thicken this add slurry of arrowroot by mixing the arrowroot with a little bit of water then adding the slurry to the pan.
11. Add shrimp and okra to finish cooking both. Around 2 to 3 minutes. Turn off pan.
* Plating- In medium pasta bowls spoon in grits to center of the bowl. Arrange shrimp around the edge of the grits. Then add sausage, okra to the middle of the grits. The pour sauce over the middle of grits. Finish with a pinch of fresh chopped parsley and green onion.
Peach Ginger Iced Green Tea
- 2 peaches peeled
- 1 tsp minced fresh ginger
- 6 cups of homemade green tea (follow directions on package for making green tea)
- 1 Tbsp honey
- Make green tea according to directions on the package
- Add 2 cups green tea, peaches, honey and ginger to a blender and blend on high until smooth
- Pour mixture into the remaining green tea and stir until well blended