Thursday, March 15, 2012

Creole Shrimp and Grits

My kitchen was an awfully warm place this afternoon.  After spotting this recipe and other variations on several blogs around Mardi Gras, the flavors sounded right up my alley and I knew I needed to make it soon.  Well, three weeks later I finally did.  On an 80 degree day.  Now, despite the fact that I was literally sweating over my stove with two burners going and an oven baking cupcakes below (more on this Friday!), I will fully admit that this meal was worth it.  So so good!

I was a little concerned about eating a dish with grits (I had them once about ten years ago and didn't care for the texture and thought they were very bland), and my hand almost grabbed the bag of rice on its reach through the pantry, but I fought the urge and made the recipe the way it was written.  Boy am I glad I did.  The grits soaked up all of the juices and the texture complemented the sauce well.  Invest in a box of grits for this!  You won't regret it!

While the recipe is fairly simple, I chose to make it even simpler and subbed in chicken broth in place of cooking shrimp broth.  I have written my adaptation below but feel free to check out the original version if you'd like to make it truly authentic.

Creole Shrimp and Grits

This served the two of us:

3/4 pounds peeled, medium-size raw shrimp (26/30 count)
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
1 celery rib, chopped
1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
3/4 teaspoon Creole seasoning (recipe below)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
1 bay leaf

1 1 /4 cup milk
1 1/4 cup water
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup uncooked quick-cooking grits

Heat butter in a Dutch oven over medium heat; stir in flour and cook, stirring constantly until flour is caramel colored (about 8 to 10 minutes). Add onion, celery, green pepper, and garlic, and cook, stirring often, 5 to 7 minutes or until tender. Stir in Creole seasoning, lemon juice, and Worcestershire sauce. Add the tomato paste and stir until it is evenly coating all of the vegetables. Slowly add 1 cup shrimp broth, stirring constantly to create a thick sauce. Add the bay leaf, reduce the heat to low, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 45 minutes. Add the shrimp, and cook 10 minutes, stirring in ¼ to ½ cup remaining shrimp broth to reach desired consistency.

Meanwhile, bring milk, water, and salt to a boil in a saucepan over high heat. Gradually stir in grits. Reduce heat to low, and simmer, stirring occasionally, 10 to 12 minutes or until thickened. Serve Creole Shrimp over grits. Sprinkle with chopped parsley, if desired.

Creole Seasoning
(makes 4 tablespoons)
2 1/2 teaspoons paprika
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon dried leaf oregano
1 teaspoon dried leaf thyme
Mix everything and store in sealed container.

Shrimp and Grits adapted from Brown Eyed Baker.
Creole Seasoning adapted from Closet Cooking.

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