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.

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