This is a piece of heaven on a plate. It may seem a bit complicated at first. Have no fear. If you do it in order, it is not difficult at all. Cooking should be an adventure. This dish will make you a star at the dinner table.
Original recipe makes 8 servings
- 1 cup quick grits
- 1 cup water
- 3 cups good chicken broth
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 2 cups half-and-half
- ¼ cup semi-dry white wine
- 1½ pound uncooked shrimp, peeled and deveined
- salt to taste
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
- 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
- 2 teaspoons fresh thyme
- 2 lemons, juiced
- ½ pound andouille sausage, cut into ¼-inch slices (A smoked sausage works if you can't find andouille.)
- 4 slices thick sliced apple bacon
- 1 green bell pepper, chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, chopped
- 1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
- 1 cup onion chopped
- ½ cup celery thin sliced (I use a mandolin set for a very thin slice.)
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- ¼ cup butter
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- ¾ tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
Prepare the Shrimp
- Peel and devein the shrimp.
- Sprinkle shrimp with salt, smoked paprika, and cayenne pepper; drizzle with lemon juice. Set aside in a bowl for about an hour.
Cook the Bacon
- Cook bacon in a large skillet over medium-high heat, turning occasionally, until evenly browned, about 10 minutes.
- Retain bacon drippings in skillet.
- Transfer bacon slices to paper towels, let cool, and crumble.
Prepare the Roux
- Melt half of the butter with a teaspoon of bacon fat in a small saucepan over medium heat.
- Add the flour and stir with a whisk.
- Keep stirring until the roux turns the color of peanut butter. Watch carefully, mixture burns easily.
- Remove from the heat.
Time to Make the Cheese Grits
- Bring 1 cup water, 2 cups chicken broth and salt to a boil in a heavy saucepan with a lid.
- Stir in the grits, Make sure you take your time to avoid hard lumps in your creamy grits.
- Turn down the heat and simmer while stirring. r
- When they have thickened stir in 1 cup of the half and half, and simmer a couple of minutes.
- Add the cheese and half of the crumbled bacon, stir well.
- Turn off the heat, and set aside to allow the moisture to distribute evenly. (5 minutes should be good.)
- Prepare a work space on a flat surface by laying out plastic wrap.
- Turn out the grits on the wrap and place another layer of plastic wrap over the grits.
- Flatten the grits into a rectangular shape and press till you have an even height of ½ an inch.
- Chill the grits to make the next step easier.
- Preheat the oven to 425° Fahrenheit.
- Cut out rounds with a large biscuit cutter. (Making any shape you want: triangles, squares, works too.)
- Lightly dust with a little flour cover and let them rest.
- Cover a sheet pan with parchment paper. and arrange the rounds on it.
- Brush them with a bit of melted butter to help with browning.
- Bake 10 minutes and rotate the tray to keep browning even.
- Bake another 5 minutes and then flip them.
- Bake till golden brown. Crispy outside, creamy inside. Don't let them get too brown.
- Remove from the oven and keep them warm and happy.
The Main Event
- Do your prep work now! Dice the vegetables and the andouille. Things will be happening fast so be prepared.
- Combine 1 cup chicken broth with the shrimp marinade, wine, Worcestershire sauce, We will use this to deglaze the pan and begin building our sauce.
- Place andouille sausage slices in a large skillet over medium heat; fry sausage in the pan with the bacon fat until browned, 5 to 8 minutes. Remove the andouille for later.
- Cook green, red, and yellow bell peppers, celery, onion, and garlic in the bacon drippings until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes.
- Stir shrimp into the cooked aromatic vegetables
- Cook until the shrimp just begin to turn opaque and bright pink, about 5 minutes.
- Add the andouille sausage and mix to combine.
- Deglaze the pan with the prepared liquids. Make sure you get all those tasty bits of goodness on the surface of the pan are combined.
- Add the roux and stir as it thickens. Add the remaining half and half and stir well. Correct for thickness with a bit of water.
- Add the thyme and remaining bacon.
- Remove from the heat and pour it into a serving bowl.
- Place the grits on a serving plate. How many rounds is up to the diner's appetite. If I'm serving several courses I go with one round per person. (I have scallop shells I use for serving plates if I want to be dramatic.)
- Serve shrimp mixture over cheese grits rounds.
- Serve immediately.
I like to serve this with a bitter green salad with tomatoes and red onions. I dress the salad with olive pepper oil vinaigrette using Dijon mustard, and a mix of cider and balsamic vinegar (2 to 1 ratio), salt and fresh black pepper.