Monday, July 4, 2011

Shrimp and Grits

I make this classic Southern dish from the Carolinas once every couple of weeks for dinner.  It's delicious, and it comes together pretty quickly.  Bell peppers ('capsicum' as my husband's homeland refers to them) are full of vitamin C and B6, beta carotene, and antioxidants, and the red ones have lots of heart-healthy lycopene.  Mushrooms also contain plenty of nutrients, and give the dish a wonderful flavor.  Seed and chop a small hot pepper for added heat and vitamins.  If you're cooking for someone who is gluten-free, replace the flour with one tablespoon of cornflour.

This dish always impresses company for brunch or dinner.  If you're worried about your guests' heat sensitivity, decrease the hot sauce a bit and just put the bottle on the table.  I usually serve shrimp and grits with cornbread muffins (with a chopped hot pepper added to the batter before baking).

Shrimp and Grits
serves 4 generously
1 lb. peeled shrimp
pinch of salt and pepper
2 tblsp flour (replace with 1 tblsp cornflour if cooking gluten-free)
2 tsp vegetable oil
2 bell peppers, diced
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1/2 cup chopped green onions
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 cup chicken broth
1/4 tsp hot sauce (Tobasco)
1 lemon
* Cheese grits (recipe below)

Mix the pinch of salt and pepper into the flour, and dredge the shrimp in this mixture, set aside.  

Saute the bell peppers in the oil for about 5-6 minutes.  Add the mushrooms, saute for about 2-3 minutes, until tender.  Add the green onions, garlic, and shrimp, saute for about 2-3 minutes, until shrimp turn pink.  

Add the chicken broth and hot sauce, simmer on high heat for about 3 minutes (reducing the broth a bit so it thickens to a thin gravy-like consistency).  

Cut the lemon in half, and squeeze one half of the lemon over the shrimp mixture.  Slice up the other half of the lemon into wedges to serve.

Place a scoop of cheese grits in the center of each plate, and top with a scoop of the shrimp mixture.  Serve with lemon wedges and extra hot sauce.

Cheese Grits
1 (14 oz) can chicken broth
1 cup skim milk
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup  uncooked, quick-cooking grits
1/2 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
1/4 cup parmesan cheese, freshly grated
1/2 tsp hot sauce (Tobasco)
1/4 tsp ground pepper

Bring the broth, milk, and salt to a boil over medium heat.  Gradually whisk in the grits, and reduce the heat to very low.  Simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 8-10 minutes, until the grits thicken.  You may need to add a few tablespoons of water if it gets too thick too quickly.  

Remove from heat and stir in the cheeses, hot sauce, and pepper.

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