You know that movie “Conspiracy Theory” with Mel Gibson and Julia Roberts where every time Mel sees a copy of Jack Kerouc’s “On the Road” he is compelled to buy it?
Yeah, so, that’s me and Shrimp and Grits. Every time I see it on the menu I pretend that I’m considering other options but every single time I order Shrimp and Grits. Creamy grits, topped with a spice sausage gravy, and sweet shrimp, who could resist? So obviously I had to figure out how to make it using what I like best from the many, many, many versions I’ve tried.
Now that I’ve perfected my own recipe, I make it for a weeknight dinner sometimes and everyone loves it. But it’s happiest at brunch–my favorite meal of the week. If you want to feed a crowd–which is how brunch should ALWAYS be served–you can put the grits in one crock, the gravy in another, and let the shrimp basically be the garnish. Fun!
So, enough about my food obsession, here’s my recipe. What’s your food obsession?
- 4 cups water, divided
- 1 pound U25 shrimp, shells removed and reserved
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1/2 pound andouille* sausage, diced into 3/4 inch pieces
- 1 small onion, finely diced. About 1/2 cup
- 1 teaspoon salt, divided
- 1/2 red bell pepper, diced into 1/2 inch pieces
- 1/2 green bell pepper, diced into 1/2 inch pieces
- 1 celery stalk, diced into 1/2 inch pieces
- 1 clove garlic
- 3 Tablespoons flour
- 1 Tablespoon blackening season
- 1 cup milk
- 1 cup coarse ground grits (also called polenta)
- Heat 2 cups water in a small saucepan until simmering. Add shrimp shells and cook 10 minutes. Drain, reserving liquid.
- Meanwhile, heat 1 Tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet. Add the sausage and cook until browned, about 5 minutes. Remove sausage to a plate, leaving the grease in the skillet.
- Saute onion for 2 minutes with 1/2 teaspoon salt, then add peppers and celery, sauté for another 3 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook just until fragrant.
- Add flour and stir until it's made a light roux (until all of the flour has been incorporated into the grease).
- Whisk in shrimp stock until smooth.
- Add back in sausage and simmer until cooked down and sauce coats the back of a spoon, about 10 minutes.
- Bring 2 cups water to a boil. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt.
- Whisk in grits and turn down heat to medium. Add milk.
- Cook grits for 20 minutes, whisking nearly constantly, until thick and creamy.
- Toss the shrimp with the blackening season.
- Heat 1 Tablespoon oil in a large skillet. Saute the shrimp until just cooked through: 3-5 minutes.
- Spoon 3/4 cup of grits in the bottom of a shallow bowl. Top with 3/4 cup of sauce. and 5-6 shrimp.
*if you can't find smoked andouille sausage, use another good smoked spiced sausage like kielbasa.