This dish combines creamy, cheesy corn grits with spicy shrimp. This is southern comfort at its best...trust me, y'all!! My favorite grits in the world are from Zea's restaurant. They're rich and creamy...and studded with nutty roasted corn kernels. Since the nearest Zea's is in Louisiana, I was THRILLED to find the recipe for these amazing grits on their website! The only tweaks I made to their recipe were to use half-and-half in place of heavy cream, roast the corn kernels in bacon fat (don't hate...this is COMFORT food, people!), and a bit of shredded co-jack cheese to the grits just before serving. The shrimp mixture is my own concoction...it's spicy from a generous amount of Cajun seasoning blend, but the heat is tempered by adding a small amount of cream to the sauce. If all this fat is making you feel guilty, do what I do: thoroughly enjoy a moderate portion...and then pencil in a salad for dinner tomorrow night! Moderation in all things...yes?
Down-Home Comforting Shrimp and Grits
Grits adapted from Zea's Restaurant
Step 1: Cook two slices of bacon in a large skillet, crumble and set aside. Remove all but 1 tbs. of the bacon fat from the pan. Turn the heat to med-high and add 1 cup thawed frozen corn kernels. Cook until the liquid cooks off and the kernels begin to toast and turn golden. This will take about 8 minutes...give it a stir about halfway through so it can brown on all sides.
Step 2: Add 2 cups chicken stock and 2 cups half and half to a large saucepan over med-high heat. Bring to a boil and add the roasted corn kernels. Slowly whisk in 1 cup of yellow cornmeal, then reduce heat to med-low. Cook for 10 minutes, giving it a whisk every couple of minutes to keep it from sticking on bottom. When the grits are cooked and thickened, add 2 tbs. softened butter and 3/4 cup shredded co-jack cheese. Whisk well to completely incorporate the cheese and butter. Set aside while you prepare the shrimp.
Step 3: Add 2 tbs. butter to a non-stick skillet over med-high heat. Add one diced shallot and two sliced green onions. Cook for 2-3 minutes, until tender. Add 1 lb. medium shrimp and 1 tbs. Cajun seasoning. Stir to combine and sear the shrimp on each side until cooked -- about 3-4 minutes total. Add the reserved bacon and 1/3 cup heavy cream and stir well to combine. Cook for 2-3 minutes, until the sauce has thickened.
Step 4: To serve, spoon some of the grits into a shallow bowl. Top with a generous serving of the shrimp and sprinkle with more chopped green onion. You should get at least four servings, with plenty of grits leftover for breakfast the next morning.
Mercy, is this dish flavorful...it's true southern comfort food! Creamy, cheesy grits topped with spicy bacon-studded shrimp. The cream gives it a touch of richness, and the Cajun seasoning gives it a little bit of heat. I especially love the sweet, slightly nutty kernels of corn in the grits! Put it all together, and you've got a fabulous and comforting meal. I hope you'll give this one a try very soon.
Make sure to join us for our weekly Twitter chat this evening at 600 CST. We'll be joined by Lee Woodruff, so it's guaranteed to be a good time...come share some of your favorite comfort food memories with us. In the meantime, take a peek at all the wonderful comfort foods that the rest of the #SundaySupper bunch is featuring today...it's such a wide variety of goodies!