Last weekend I hosted Easter brunch and in addition to lamb, which is a traditional entrée at Easter, I wanted to serve a seafood dish as well. In my family, we always have to have some “surf with our turf.” Anyway, my mom suggested I make shrimp and grits and I immediately remembered that my friend Leigh makes a great version.
I called her up and she talked me through how she makes shrimp and grits. Like me, Leigh is a great cook but she also keeps her health in mind so as she was sharing the instructions, she was already suggesting ways to cut the calories. However, since this was a holiday meal I was preparing, I decided to forget about counting calories and splurge a bit. So the recipe below is how I made it for Easter but if you want to shave off some calories, here were Leigh’s suggestions: use skim or low-fat milk instead of cream and eliminate the cheese from the grits.
But whether you indulge with cheese and cream or keep it light, this recipe is a winner. My family ate it ALL and I had people who said they never liked or tasted grits, scraping them off their plate. Enjoy! And Leigh I hope this makes you proud!
Ingredients (makes 5-6 generous servings):
3 ½ cups Chicken Stock (divided)
1 cup Heavy Cream
1 cup Quaker (5-minute) Grits
Salt & Pepper (to taste)
½ teaspoon Garlic Powder
½ teaspoon Hot Sauce
½ cup Parmesan Cheese (1 good handful and Sharp Cheddar works too!)
2 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 small Onion (diced)
2 cloves Garlic (minced)
½ cup Dry White Wine
1 ½ lbs. Shrimp
Old Bay Seasoning (to taste)
1 lemon (juiced)
2-3 tablespoons Chopped Parsley (for garnish)
In a medium sized pot, bring 3 cups chicken stock and the cup of heavy cream to a boil. Once bubbling, add the grits, salt and pepper to taste, garlic powder, and hot sauce. Stir to combine ingredients, cover and reduce heat to low. Cook for 5 minutes and remove from heat.
While grits are cooking, heat olive oil over medium high heat then add onions and cook until softened, 4-5 minutes. Then add the garlic and sauté for another 30 seconds. Add in the white wine and the other ½ cup of chicken stock and stir to combine, being sure to scrape up any brown bits on the bottom of the pan. While that begins to bubble, generously season the raw shrimp with Old Bay and then add the shrimp to the pan. Cover and steam for about 4 minutes, stirring halfway through.
Now you can check the grits. Stir in the Parmesan cheese and give them a taste. Add more salt, pepper, or hot sauce to taste, but the grits should be creamy with a mild kick from the hot sauce. Pour grits into a large, deep serving dish.
Now your shrimp should be cooked. Add the juice of 1 lemon and parsley. Give the shrimp one final stir and then pour everything on top of the grits. Serve immediately.