Today is Mardi Gras and I am better prepared for it this year! Last year I scrambled to find something festive to post. That ice cream was such a hit I even made it again this year with improved execution even! It’s amazing what a year in the kitchen can do to one’s intuition. As they say, “Practice makes perfect.”
But on to this year:
Instead of looking at doing something festive I decided to do something cultural. New Orleans has the biggest parties for Mardi Gras – celebrating for the entire week! Cajun and Creole cuisine reign supreme in southeast Louisiana. These popular food cultures include favorites such as beignets, gumbo, jambalaya, and po’ boys. I decided on shrimp and grits. There’s a little more work and takes more time than I’d typically do for a weeknight dinner, but the effort was absolutely worth it and the kitchen smelled amazing, too. We absolutely loved this dish and it made for great leftovers, too.
This dish makes 6-8 servings!
Shrimp and Grits
- 2 lb shell-on, deveined shrimp
- 1/4 C vegetable oil
- 1/3 C flour
- 1 onion, diced
- 2 stalks celery, diced
- 1 green bell pepper, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 can (6oz.) tomato paste
- 1 1/2 tsp creole seasoning
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- 2 1/2 C milk
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 C uncooked quick-cook grits
- Make shrimp broth: Peel shells off the shrimp and put in a pot. Cover with 4 C water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer 20 minutes. Strain, pressing on the shells. Reserve broth and discard shells.
- Heat oil in a dutch oven over medium-high heat. Whisk in the flour. Cook for 8 minutes, stirring constantly until a light brown. Add the onion, celery, bell pepper, and garlic. Cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste. Add in 2 C of the shrimp broth from Step 1. Scrape the bottom of the pan. Add in the Cerole seasoning, bay leaf, lemon juice, and Worcestershire. Reduce heat to low and cook 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- In a pot over medium-high heat, bring milk and 2 1/2 C of water, and salt to a boil. Reduce heat to low and stir in the grits. Cook 10-12 minutes.
- Add shrimp to the pot and cook about 10 minutes, or until the shrimp is cooked through. Add as much of the remaining shrimp broth as needed to reach desired consistency.
- Serve shrimp overtop the grits.
*This recipe is adapted from Angela at http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/creole-shrimp-grits*