Tonight, I made shrimp and grits for dinner. I casually ran to the grocery store to get a couple last minute ingredients: shrimp, grits, and vegetable stock. Nothing fancy. I had everything else I thought I would need at home. A simple and unassuming dinner...one I'd heard a lot about, but not something I was pulling out all the stops for. I, for the first time, made grits: milk, vegetable stock, grits...more milk...cheddar and parmesan cheeses and lots of salt and pepper. Meanwhile I was preparing my lovely raw shrimp. I peeled it, coated it in olive oil, paprika, cayenne, salt, and pepper. I chopped and diced the celery, garlic, and onion. I heated the pan and sauteed it all before deglazing with a bit of white wine and vegetable stock. I casually added some butter and lemon juice to finish. I scooped a mound of grits into my bowl and topped it with a few shrimp and a ladle of sauce. And then...I tasted it. It was pure foodie bliss!!!! Let me tell you, if you have never had shrimp and grits go.make.this.now. It is freakin' spectacular comfort food. I want to bathe in it...is that wrong? I love it. I want to marry it...is that wrong too? Ok, I'm just discovering what loads of southern people have know for years and lifetimes, shrimp and grits is probably the best comfort food ever!
Shrimp and Grits
*Note: I've combined and rearranged this recipe into the way that I would/did make it as a whole dish. If you want just the recipe for the grits you can find the original here.
2 cups stone-ground grits (not the quick cooking kind)
2 cups plus 1/3 cup vegetable stock
2 cups plus 1 cup whole milk
1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
4 tbl olive oil
1 tsp paprika
pinch cayenne pepper or to taste
1/2 cup finely chopped celery
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
2 cloves minced garlic
1/4 cup dry white wine or vermouth
3 tbl salted butter
juice of 1 lemon
1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
salt and pepper
In a large bowl combine the grits with about 4 cups of water; mix and drain water. Heat 2 cups of vegetable stock and 2 cups of milk in a medium pot over high heat until boiling. Slowly stir in the grits, whisk until combined, turn heat to low, and cover for 20 minutes or until soft. Stir occasionally to avoid sticking.
Meanwhile prepare the shrimp and sauce. Toss the shrimp with 2 tbl of the olive oil, paprika, cayenne, salt, and pepper. Heat the remaining 2 tbl of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the celery, onion, and garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Place the shrimp in a single layer in the skillet and let cook, undisturbed, for about 1 minute.
Turn the shrimp and deglaze the pan with the white wine. Allow to reduce for another minute. Add in the 1/3 cup vegetable stock and allow to reduce for an additional minute or so. Stir in the butter until melted and the lemon juice. Keep warm over low heat while you finish the grits.
Stir the softened grits and add part or all of the remaining 1 cup of milk to give the grits a smooth creamy consistency. Add in the cheddar and parmesan cheeses and lots of salt and pepper. Scoop some grits into a bowl and top with a few shrimp and a ladle of sauce. Enjoy!
Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart