Shrimp and grits is a staple on the menu of many Southern restaurants. Each restaurant offers its own spin on the popular low-country dish. Some places just top a bowl of grits with sauteed shrimp, while other establishments smother the grits in a heavy sauce with minimal shrimp. I like my shrimp and grits somewhere in between, with sauteed shrimp nestled in a rich flavorful sauce. For this recipe, I went with Creole flavors, adding okra and andouille sausage for a gumbo-style twist.
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Creole Shrimp and Grits
Makes 6 servings
3 cups chicken stock
3 cups whole milk
1 1/2 cups regular grits
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 cup sharp white cheddar cheese
Coarse black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
¾ pound fresh okra, trimmed and halved lengthwise
1 medium white onion, chopped
1 medium pablano pepper, seeded and chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
¾ pound andouille sausage, cut into chunks
1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes
¼ cup all-purpose flour
2 cups chicken stock
1 bay leaf
1½ pounds large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1½ teaspoon Creole seasoning
½ lemon, juiced
1 teaspoon hot sauce
Coarse ground black pepper
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
4 green onions, sliced (green and white parts)
Bring the chicken stock and half and half to a simmer over medium-high heat in a large saucepan. Whisk in the grits and a ¼ teaspoon salt. Reduce the heat to a low simmer and cook until thickened, about 10 minutes, whisking often. Stir in the butter and cheese until melted. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper. Keep warm.
Heat the olive oil and 2 tablespoons butter in a deep skillet over medium heat. Add the okra, onion, pablano pepper, and celery and cook until browned, about 4 minutes. Add the sausage and cook, stirring, until the sausage is brown. Stir in the tomatoes and cook for 3 minutes Sprinkle in the flour, stir with a wooden spoon and cook for one minute. Add the bay leaves and chicken stock, stirring to combine. Bring to a simmer.
Toss the shrimp with the creole seasoning and add to the simmering liquid. Remove the pan from the heat and cook the shrimp until just pink, about 2 minutes. Stir in the lemon juice and season with salt and pepper. Add the parsley and green onion.
To serve, whisk the grits and spoon into a serving bowl. Top with the shrimp sauce.