Shrimp and Grits
Yield: 4 servings
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes (Chicken stock); 40 minutes (Shrimp stock)
1 pound (26-30 count) fresh shrimp, peeled and de-veined
1 tablespoons Cajun seasoning (recipe below, or Tone's Louisiana Cajun seasoning)
2 teaspoons sweet paprika
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 Tablespoon fresh minced garlic
2 ounces sugar cured country ham, 1/4" diced cubes
Spice Mix Ingredients:
teaspoons garlic powder
1/2 teaspoons paprika
teaspoon ground black pepper
teaspoon onion powder
teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoons dried oregano
1/4 teaspoons dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 cups Chicken stock or Shrimp stock (see recipe below)
1 1/2 cups Quaker quick-cooking grits (not instant)
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) extra-sharp yellow Cheddar cheese
Kosher or Sea salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cup Chicken stock or Shrimp stock (see recipe below)
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon hot sauce (recommended: Texas Pete)
2 Tbsp. canola oil
4 cups raw shrimp shells and tails
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
1 small carrot, coarsely chopped
1/2 medium celery stalk, coarsely chopped
1 cup dry white wine
1 medium tomato, chopped, or 1/2 cup chopped canned plum tomatoes
1 bay leaf
8 black peppercorns
Prepare the Cajun spice mix in advance by stirring together the salt, garlic powder, paprika, black pepper, onion powder, cayenne pepper, oregano, thyme, and red pepper flakes until evenly blended. Store in an airtight container.
Peel and de-vein the shrimp in advance. In a small bowl, combine Cajun seasoning, paprika, Italian seasoning and pepper, to taste. Season the shrimp with the spice mixture, and set shrimp aside.
Prepare the diced ham in advance by sautéing, then set aside but keep it warm.
If used in lieu of the chicken stock, prepare the shrimp stock by heating the oil in a large saucepan over high heat until almost smoking. Add the shrimp shells and tails, onion, carrot, and celery, and sauté, stirring, for 5 minutes. Add the wine and boil until reduced by half. Add 8 cups cold water, the tomato, bay leaf, and peppercorns. Reduce the heat to medium, cover partially, and simmer for 40 minutes. Strain the stock through cheesecloth or a fine-mesh strainer into a bowl.
Prepare the sauce by melting the butter in a saucepan over medium heat, and stir in the flour. Stir with a wooden spatula until roux reaches a medium-tan color, about 8 minutes, then slowly stir in the stock and heavy cream. Bring to a boil while continuing to stir until the sauce has thickened enough to coat the back of the spoon, about 10 minutes. Whisk in Worcestershire sauce and hot sauce. Taste for seasoning, then set aside but keep it warm.
In a medium saucepan, combine butter and stock and bring to a boil over medium heat. Slowly whisk in the grits and simmer, whisking often for 5 minutes. Add tomato paste, cream, and cheese. Keep whisking for another 2 or 3 minutes until the grits become creamy. Seasoning with salt for taste, then set aside but keep it warm.
Melt the butter in a 12" sauté pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and stir for 30 seconds. Add in the spice-coated shrimp, and sauté until they're just done and tender, about 1 1/2 minutes per side.
Transfer the shrimp to a plate, and stir the pan dripping into the sauce.
To serve, place a few heaping spoonfuls of grits onto each plate, top with several sizzling shrimp, drizzle the roux sauce over the shrimp, and sprinkle on a few cubes of country ham.