Monday, December 19, 2011

Sunsets, Shrimp, and Slow-Cooker Grits

When I look back over my blog posts for 2010, I am reminded that many of our favorite dishes have been Southern - inspired by our trip to New Orleans, cookbooks by John Besh and Donald Link, and the abundance of fresh seafood available in San Diego. In fact, the Blogher Publishing Network just featured my Gumbo post, along with Besh's My New Orleans cookbook, in its Holiday Food Guide!

In addition to making gumbo several times this past year, Shrimp and Grits has made a few appearances on our table. And please don't get me drooling over Fried Oyster and Bacon Sandwiches or Beignets, a few more southern favorites we've ordered in restaurants and then recreated at home.

On a recent stormy evening, we tried yet another version of Shrimp and Grits, this time from Michael Ruhlman.  Although I didn't butter poach the shrimp, I followed the method of cooking the grits in a crock pot for about eight hours.  Eve Felder, a chef instructor at the Culinary Institute of America, and native of Charleston, South Carolina, recommends slow cooking the grits for hours to achieve the perfect consistency.

If I was out clamming in the cold surf like these two guys in the photos below, a bowl of hot, creamy grits and butter-poached or sauteed shrimp would be most appreciated when I came home.  John was out photographing at the beach last week, while I was still stuck behind my desk at work, and came home with these beautiful shots.

Sauteed Shrimp and Slow-Cooker Grits
Adapted from Michael Ruhlman
Serves 4

4 ounces chorizo, cut into small dice
1 medium onion, cut into small dice
1 1/4 cups high-quality stoneground grits
2 cups milk
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 pound large, uncooked shrimp, peeled and deveined
4 tablespoons Italian parsley, chopped
4 lemon wedges

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, saute the chorizo for about 5 minutes.  Add the onion, season with a pinch of salt, and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.

Add the grits and stir. Add the milk, and 2 cups of water. Raise the heat and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low and cook the grits, stirring occasionally, for about 30 minutes. Add several grinds of black pepper to the grits. Add more milk or water as needed (about 2 cups more) to keep the mixture fluid. Transfer the grits to a slow-cooker set to low, and cover.  Monitor the moisture level, adding milk or water as needed, and stir occasionally.  Cook for about 8 hours.  Taste and add a touch more salt to taste.

Again, I didn't butter poach the shrimp this time, but you can follow Michael Ruhlman's step by step instructions and recipe here (I simply sauteed the shrimp in about 4 tablespoon of butter, just until pink and cooked through, about 3-4 minutes).

Spoon the grits into bowls, and arrange the sauteed shrimp over the top.  Garnish with parsley, freshly ground pepper, and a squeeze of lemon.

I initially plated our shrimp and grits in these little cast iron pans, but we both wanted a much larger serving!



MyFudo™ said...

My husband will rejoice with this for lunch or dinner. The preparation will bring out all the goodness in shrimp. Thanks for sharing this recipe!

Purabi Naha said...

This looks yummy. I really appreciate the photographs. Nice blog!!

Simply Tia said...

I've never had grits but your photos are so inviting. I think I might just have to muster up the courage and go for it! Beautiful photos. Lovely dish.

BigBearswife said...

mmmm. We always make Cheddar grits and shrimp, but I love the idea of making them in the slow cooker! beautiful photo of the dish!

Amy said...

Stomach growling...heart breaking! I lived in NOLA for 5 years and of all that I miss, I miss the food most of all. Will be trying your shrimp-n-grits asap. Happy Holidays from A Couple in the Kitchen...

Jeanie said...

This looks wonderful! Also, love the Newfie. We had a sweet Newf, Grover, for 12 great years. He was the best bear in the world!