A Modified Version of Shrimp and Grits


As you may, or may not know, I looooooooove shrimp and grits! While my earlier recipe on here is one of my all-time favorites, this one is simply delicious. I was watching The Chew on Friday, and Carla Hall made a dish called “Swamp Thing”, which was her healthier version of shrimp and grits. Once I saw it was loaded with vegetables, I was sold, and knew I had to try it, which I did later that day with a few small modifications. This recipe does take a little effort, as the grits need to be made about an hour beforehand, and there’s a decent amount of veggie chopping, but trust me when I say, it’s worth it! Thanks Carla!!!

Ingredients

Grits:

  • 1 cup Quick Grits
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 cup Half & Half (or milk)
  • 1/2 cup fresh or frozen corn
  • 1/2 cup cheddar cheese (optional)
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 4 tbsp. butter
  • Olive oil (for frying grits)

Shrimp Stew

  • 1/2 pound shrimp (peeled and deveined)
  • 3 cloves garlic (thinly sliced)
  • 1/2 onion (medium diced)
  • 1 large carrot (medium diced)
  • 1/4 cup corn
  • Half of a 14.5-ounce can whole plum tomatoes (crushed)
  • 2 cups collard greens (ribboned*)
  • 1 cup sweet potatoes (peeled and diced, or canned)
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 parsnip (peeled and diced)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 tsp. fresh thyme
  • 2 tbsp. flour
  • 1 quart (4 cups) chicken stock/broth
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil plus more for pan
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Grits

  1. In a medium saucepan, bring water, Half & Half, and corn to a boil.
  2. Slowly whisk in grits, avoiding lumps and cook according to package directions.
  3. Once cooked, whisk in butter and cheese (if using).
  4. Pour into greased baking dish, allow to cool, then place in refrigerator for an hour.
  5. At this point, you can start on the stew if you want & come back to step 6.
  6. Remove grits from fridge and cut into 3 inch squares (or desired size).
  7. Heat a non-stick pan over medium-high heat with olive oil.  Fry grits in hot oil until golden on all sides. Remove from pan.

Shrimp Stew

  1. In a heavy bottomed pot, over high heat, add olive oil. Toss in the onions and garlic and cook for about 3 minutes.
  2. Toss in all the other vegetables except for the collard greens and crushed tomatoes, and add olive oil if it seems dry. Coat all the vegetables in oil and continue to cook over high heat, just slightly browning everything.
  3. Sprinkle flour over the vegetables and stir. Deglaze with the chicken stock. Add the collard greens, thyme, bay leaf and cayenne, and stir.
  4. Add in the tomatoes and bring to a boil.
  5. Reduce to a simmer and cook until the vegetables are cooked through, about 25 minutes.
  6. Right before serving, toss in the shrimp and simmer for 2-3 minutes, or until the shrimp is just cooked through.
  7. Plate in a soup bowl on top of fried grits.  Season to taste.  Serve immediately.

* To ribbon the collard greens, take some leaves, place them on top of each other, roll them up long-way, and cut small pieces off of the ends. This will form long, thin pieces known as ribbons.

Note: If you don’t do shrimp/shellfish, you can definitely leave it out. Also, feel free to substitute vegetable broth in place of chicken broth. 

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Savory Polenta


Did you ever see a recipe, and that one led you to another one, then another one, and… well, you get the point. I received a recipe over the weekend for an appetizer with polenta rounds that looked absolutely delicious, and planned on making it, then thought I should probably wait until I actually need to make some hors d’oeuvres. So, I continued looking online for different types of recipes which contained polenta and came across one from Rachael Ray, that got tremendous reviews and looked scrumptious, which led me to a recipe from Alton Brown. I definitely plan on trying Rachael’s soon, but made Alton’s polenta side dish, with a few modifications, to go with some leftover rib-eye I had in the fridge. This was my first time making and trying polenta, so wasn’t really sure what to expect, but I really liked it!! This also pairs very well with fish or chicken.

Polenta with Rib-Eye and Cherry Tomato Vinaigrette

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp. olive oil, plus extra for grilling or sautéing the polenta, if desired
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped red onion
  • 1 clove garlic, finely minced
  • 1 cup chicken stock or broth
  • 1 cup milk (I prefer skim) + additional to thin, if desired
  • 1/2 cup coarse ground cornmeal
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1/8 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/8 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan, grated
  • 1/4 cup Sharp Cheddar, grated

Directions

  1. In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat.
  2. Add the red onion and salt, and cook until the onions begin to turn translucent, approximately 4 to 5 minutes.
  3. Reduce the heat to low, add the garlic, and saute for 1 to 2 minutes, making sure the garlic does not burn.
  4. Turn the heat up to high, add the chicken stock or broth, bring to a boil.
  5. Gradually add the cornmeal while continually whisking.
  6. Once you have added all of the cornmeal, cover the pot and cook for approx. 15 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes to prevent lumps.
  7. Once the mixture is creamy, remove from heat and add the butter and pepper.
  8. Once they are incorporated, gradually add the Parmesan and Cheddar.
  9. Season with additional salt, according to taste.
  10. If you want the polenta creamier, you can thin with a little cream or milk to get desired consistency. Otherwise, serve as is, or pour the polenta into a cake pan lined with parchment paper and place in the refrigerator to cool completely. Once set, turn the polenta out onto a cutting board and cut into squares, rounds, or triangles. Brush each side with olive oil and saute in a nonstick skillet over medium heat, or grill.

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