Sunday Supper: Shrimp & Cheesy Grits
Growing up, I hated when my mom made grits for breakfast. When grits were served on Saturday or Sunday mornings, I knew I was going to be the first one at the table for lunch or dinner. I was a rice or oatmeal kid. While my dad and brothers ate mounds of grits, I only added a few spoon fulls to my bowl–wasting food was a no no in our house. I think my bowl contained more butter and sugar butter in order to finish the little I had in my bowl.
Fast forward to being an adult and grits are not a staple in my kitchen. But I can always find grits on the menus of restaurants that serve southern cuisine. They are typically paired with shrimp for the infamous shrimp & grits dish. I haven’t had much of a desire to jump on the shrimp & grits bandwagon because many of the dishes are made with some form of bacon.
Last week, I decided to try my hand at shrimp & grits. I knew I didn’t want plain savory grits. I wanted to add my favorite cheese, cheddar. It was a slam dunk at finding the perfect cheese. I used aged Vermont white cheddar cheese from Sargento. I used white cheese because yellow orange grits look so unnatural to me. Finding grits was a different story. I was looking for regular grits; but all I found was quick grits. So quick grits it is. I was worried about using quick grits with this dish; but everything worked to my liking.
Shrimp & Cheesy Grits
For the Shrimp:
1 pound uncooked large shrimp (cleaned & deveined. If you have the shells, set them to the side)
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
3 cloves garlic (about 2 teaspoons of crushed garlic)
1 tablespoon olive oil
ONECombine shrimp and smoke paprika in a large bowl.
TWOAdd garlic to seasoned shrimp with a garlic press.
THREECover & place in the refrigerator while you cook the cheesy grits.
For the Cheesy Grits:
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/4 cup chopped onions
1 cup cleaned shrimp shells (optional) NOTE: The shrimp shells add extra flavor
1 cup shredded aged white cheddar cheese
1 ounce cream cheese
2 cups water (plus a 1/4 cup of water set to the side)
1/2 cup grits
1/4 cup chives (top part of green onions)
ONEMelt butter in a pot on low heat.
TWOAdd onions and shrimp shells to melted butter.
THREECover pot. Cook onions until they are translucent. Remove cooked shrimp shells.
FOURAdd water. Boil mixture at medium heat.
FIVEAdd grits. Cover pot and cook on low heat.
SIXAfter 2 about 3 minutes, remove the top & stir grits with a whisk. NOTE: Add a little extra water if necessary. If grits look dry, add a little bit of water.
SEVENWhisk in cream cheese until thoroughly combined.
EIGHTRemove from heat after 3 minutes.
NINEStir in shredded white cheddar cheese. Cover pot to allow cheese to melt.
Cooking the Shrimp:
ONEHeat oil in a skillet on medium heat.
TWOAdd shrimp to heated skillet.
THREECook shrimp until they are pink on both sides. NOTE: Be careful to not overcook the shrimp. I like to cover my skillet to insulate the heat. This also helps your food to cook on both sides.
Finishing the Dish:
ONEAdd cheesy grits to a bowl.
TWOAdd shrimp to cheesy grit.
THREEGarnish with chives.
Makes 2 servings of Cheesy Shrimp & Grits. A pound of shrimp may seem like it is a lot of shrimp. Well, it is a lot of shrimp. I love shrimp & I like to make sure there is enough shrimp in the dish.