Friday, May 15, 2009

Shrimp & grits with collard greens

I haven't cooked a ton of Southern food in the past, but we had a bunch of collard greens from this weeks produce delivery, so I figured it would go well with this dish. A basic version of shrimp and grits is really easy to make...just cook the grits and add shrimp, but it's really good to dress it up with a little Cajun style stew. A lot of recipes use milk as the basis for the grits, but I choose to make a homemade shrimp stock using a bunch of shells from some Main shrimp that had been sitting in the freezer. Here's my take on this Southern classic.

  • Shrimp (about 4-6 per serving)
  • 1/2 red bell pepper (small dice)
  • 1 stalk celery (small dice)
  • 1/2 vidalia onion (small dice)
  • tasso (small dice)
  • 2-3 Tbsp flour
  • 2-3 Tbsp butter, + 2 Tbsp butter
  • 1/4 cup whole milk
  • 5-6 cups shrimp stock
  • 1 cup course ground corn meal
  • salt
  • pepper
  • Cajun seasoning
  • 2 cloves garlic, sliced
  • red pepper flakes
  • lemon
  • 1 bunch collards, sliced into 1/2 to 1" strips
Directions for the stew
Melt the butter in a pan over medium high heat. Once melted, add an equal measure of flower and stir together. Keep cooking and stirring the roux until it becomes a very dark brown. Add the diced trinity (bell pepper, onion, and celery) and cook until soft (about 3 minutes). Add the diced tasso (Dice an amount that is equal to the amount of bell pepper, celery, OR onions. You want all four of the ingredients to be in equal parts). Cook for another 2 minutes. Season with cajun seasoning (~1/2 tsp), salt and pepper. Add the milk a little bit at a time, stirring constantly. Then add about 1 cup of the shrimp stock. Let simmer.

Directions for grits
Bring about 4 cups shrimp stock to a boil. Add 1 cup corn meal and stir. Keep stirring as the corn meal absorbs the liquid and the mixture begins to thicken. Season with salt and pepper. Once it is at a porridge like consistency, add 2 T butter and 1/2 -1 cup grated cheddar cheese. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Directions for collards
Cut out think stems and slice collards across into 1/2" to 1" strips. Heat up 1 T olive oil in a pan and add 2 cloves minced garlic and a dash of red pepper flakes. When the garlic begins to brown, add the collards. After 1 to 2 minutes, add about 1/2 cup water or chicken stock. Turn the heat down to medium, cover, and let simmer. Before serving, toss a bit of lemon juice or cider vinegar in with the greens.

Directions for shrimp
Heat up 1 T butter over high heat. Add 1 clove on minced garlic and cook for 30 seconds. If the butter begins to brown, turn the heat down a little. Add the peeled, deveined shrimp and saute for about 1 minute. Add the shrimp to the stew.

To serve, add a few spoonfuls of grits to a bowl or plate and top with the shrimp/stew mixture and collards. Serve with lemon slices.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Orange glazed pork belly with assorted greens

Staying with the local theme we've been on for the last couple weeks, this meal uses some salad greens from our local organic produce delivery and pork belly from Savenor's Vermont supplier.

I used this recipe and didn't bother making any changes, so just click through for the recipe. It takes a bit of time since you have to braise it, but the actual active prep time is fairly low.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Pork loin chop, swiss chard, celeriac and turnip gratin

The major components of this meal were all local. The veggies were from the Boston Organics local delivery box and the pork comes from a farm in Vermont that Savenor's has recently started sourcing from. Here's the recipe.
  • 2 pork chops
  • salt
  • pepper
  • fennel pollen
  • white wine
  • 1 T butter
  • 1 bunch swiss chard
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • red pepper flakes
  • red wine vinegar
  • 1 celery root
  • 1 turnip
  • 1-1.5 cups cream
  • gruyere
Slice the celery root and turnip into 1/8" rounds (use a mandoline if you have one). Add to a pot with the cream and 3 cloves of smashed garlic. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce and simmer for 10 minutes. Butter a gratin pan and add the celery root, turnip and cream mixture. Grate enough gruyere cheese on top to cover. Bake at 350F for 40 minutes. Let stand at least 15 minutes before serving.

Rinse the chard, cut off thick stems, cut into 1" strips. Heat up 1 T olive oil in a saute pan, add 2 cloves of minced garlic and a dash of red pepper flakes and cook over medium high heat until the garlic begins to take some color. Add the chard. Season with salt and pepper. Let the chard cook down a little then add a splash of white wine. Let this cook down some more. Add about 2 tsp to 1 Tbsp of vinegar. 

Season the pork chops with salt, pepper, and fennel pollen. Add to cold pan and turn heat to high. Cook for about 2-3 minutes on the first side, flip, and cook another 2-3 minutes on the other side. Cooking times will vary depending on how thick the cut is. Remove the pork chops and let rest. Add 1/2 cup of white wine to the pan and scrape up anything stock to the pan. Mount with 1 Tbsp butter. Serve the pan sauce with the pork.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Chilled beet soup

This is a really simple, tasty recipe that would make a good starter for a summer meal.

  • 2 lb roasted beets
  • 2 c unsweetened cranberrry juice
  • 1 orange
  • 1-2c greek yogurt
  • salt, pepper
Roast the beats, peel and dice. Combine the beets with the cranberry juice, yogurt, and juice and zest from one orange. Blend together. You can add more beets or yogurt until you find the taste that you want. Season with salt and pepper, then strain through a fine mesh strainer to improve the texture. Chill in the fridge and garnish with mint and/or sour cream or mascarpone.