Thursday, March 11, 2021

Weekend Gourmet Flashback: Down-Home Comforting Shrimp and Grits...aka My MOST POPULAR Recipe! #shrimp #grits #lentenfood #comfortfood

Some recipes are so special that they take on a life of their own! In the decade that The Weekend Gourmet has been in existence, the hands down most popular recipe I've shared is my Down-Home Comforting Shrimp and Grits. Since it was first published in 2o15, it's been viewed and pinned more than 500,000 times...people have gone totally crazy for it! With the Lenten season here, I figured it's the perfect time to share this dish again. This dish is comfort in a bowl...
combining cheesy corn grits topped with shrimp in a spicy, creamy sauce. This is a recipe that you simply must have in your culinary bag of tricks!

Down-Home Comforting Shrimp and Grits
Grits adapted from Zea Restaurant
Ingredients (makes 4-6 servings)
For the grits:
  • 2 slices bacon, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup frozen corn kernels, thawed
  • 2 cloves garlic, grated or finely minced
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups half and half
  • 1 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 2 Tbs. salted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup shredded Colby Jack cheese
  • Salt & pepper to taste
For the shrimp:
  • 2 Tbs. salted butter
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 Tbs. Cajun seasoning
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream OR half and half
  • 1 lb. shrimp, peeled and deveined [NOTE: I like to use large shrimp that are 31-35 per pound]
Step 1: Cook the bacon in a large skillet, drain well, and set aside. Remove all but 1 Tbs. of the bacon fat from the pan. Turn the heat to med-high and add the corn kernels. Cook until all liquid cooks off and the kernels begin to toast and turn golden brown. This will take approximately 8 minutes. Be sure to give the corn a stir about halfway through so it can brown evenly on all sides. Add the grated/minced garlic to the cooked corn and cook for 1-2 minutes.
Step 2: Add the chicken stock and half and half to a large saucepan over med-high heat. Bring to a boil, then add the roasted corn kernels. Slowly whisk in the yellow cornmeal, then reduce heat to med-low. Cook for 10 minutes, giving the grits a whisk every couple of minutes to keep them from sticking to the bottom of the pan. When the grits are cooked and thickened, remove from heat. Add the softened  butter and Colby Jack cheese. Stir well to completely incorporate the cheese and butter. Add salt & pepper to taste. Set the finished grits aside while you prepare the shrimp.
Step 3: Add the remaining 2 Tbs of butter to a non-stick skillet over med-high heat. Add the shallot and green onions. Cook for 2-3 minutes. Add the shrimp and Cajun seasoning. Stir to combine and sear the shrimp on each side until they turn pink and are completely cooked -- about 4-5 minutes total. Add the reserved bacon and heavy cream/half and half. Stir well to combine. Coo2-3 minutes longer, until the sauce begins to thicken
Step 4: To serve, spoon some of the cheesy corn grits into a shallow bowl. Top with a generous serving of the shrimp, and sprinkle with more chopped green onion. You should have at least four servings...with some grits left for breakfast the next morning. 
Y'all...the is true Southern comfort food! Creamy, cheesy grits topped with spicy bacon-studded shrimp. The cream provides a touch of richness, and the Cajun seasoning brings a little bit of heat. I especially love the sweet, slightly nutty flavor the corn kernels bring to the grits. Put it all together, and you've got a fabulous and comforting meal! I hope you'll give this very popular recipe a try in your kitchen very soon.

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