Southern Comfort: Cheesy Shrimp and Grits…My Version

Some people aren’t big fans of grits; this recipe could change that for ever as it is pretty easy and darn tasty.  Not diet food; we are talking cheese and cream here. Still, I promise; you and yours will love grits after you whip up this luscious entrée!

I used frozen large shrimp; don’t use very small ones, lacking real shrimp flavor.  My pantry didn’t have fancy country ham; just used some ham steak from the grocery store; was fine. My version has fresh tomatoes on it; love the addition.  This is mostly naturally gluten free; just changed the white all purpose flour for the roux to rice flour.  Use most any blend of gf flour you prefer. No bean flour though; that stuff is nasty for most things.

I ate some of it cold the next day; took it along for a lunch out.  No microwave….still tasty cold.  Enjoy!

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Shrimp and Grits

Ingredients

Shrimp:
1/2 pound (26-30 count) Wild Shrimp
1-2 tsp. Cajun seasoning

3/4 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. dried Italian seasoning
Freshly ground black pepper
Grits:
1 cup water
1 gf chicken bouillon cubes
1 tablespoons butter or margarine
1/2 cup quick grits
1 1/2 tsp. tomato paste
3 oz heavy cream  (a glass measuring cup has ounce marks on it)

1 2/3 ounces extra-sharp Cheddar; shred on large grater side
Sauce:
1 tablespoon butter or margarine
1 tsp. minced garlic
1-2 tablespoons rice flour
1/2 cup chicken stock
2 tbsp. heavy whipping cream
1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon hot sauce (recommend: Texas Pete)
¼ cup sugar-cured country ham diced

1 ripe tomato diced
Directions

First, peel and devein the shrimp. In a small bowl, combine Cajun seasoning, paprika, Italian seasoning and salt and pepper, to taste. Sprinkle the spice mixture over the shrimp to coat well and set the shrimp aside while you get all the ingredients ready for the grits and sauce. You want the shrimp to stand at least 4-5 minutes before you fry them so the flavors soak in somewhat.

Now saute the shrimp in a large saute pan: melt 2 tablespoons of butter, add minced garlic and stir for 30 seconds. Add in the spice-coated shrimp, and cook only until they’re just done and tender. Don’t overcook. Remove the shrimp from the saute pan and set them aside in a bowl.
The roux is next. With all those wonderful drippings from the shrimp in the saute pan, add 1-2 tablespoons of rice flour and stir with a wooden spatula to make a roux. Start with one and add more if you think there is enough butter and drippings to mix with it. Cook for 10 to 12 minutes until roux reaches a medium-tan color, then slowly add the chicken stock and heavy whipping cream. Whisk together and cook for 2 minutes, then whisk in Worcestershire sauce and hot sauce. Set aside.
Next, while the roux cooks, make your grits. In a medium saucepan, bring water, chicken bouillon cubes and 2 tablespoons butter to a boil. Slowly add the grits, whisking often with wire whisk for 5 minutes. Add tomato paste, cream, and cheese. Keep whisking for another 2 or 3 minutes until the grits become creamy. Don’t skimp on the butter and the cream, it gotta have that good stuff so you have that great taste!
And last, toppings. Cook 1 center slice of cured country ham in a saute pan, and cut into cubes. I used a ham steak from the store and cut it in small cubes and sauteed it briefly before mixing it with the shrimp. Dice the tomato up.

To serve place 2-3 heaping spoonfuls of steaming cheese grits onto a place, top with half the shrimp and half the ham cubes. Drizzle that yummy roux sauce over top of the shrimp, and sprinkle on half that chunked up tomato. Enjoy this little bit of that world famous Southern cooking even up here in Pennsylvania!
I made a few changes to this recipe – originally by Joe Barnett: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/shrimp-and-grits-recipe

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