Cooking for Dr. Matthews is great. He is a tall thing who works out regularly, thus maintains a healthy appetite and a great appreciation for foods of all varieties. Cooking for hungry and non picky eaters is so very rewarding! Thankfully, Dr. Matthews is also honest in his reviews of the recipes I try. I often ask him if something’s a “make again” meal, or to rate it on a 1-10, which he will obligingly do.
The first time I made shrimp and grits, before we moved south, Dr. Matthews was pleasantly surprised by this combination, which he hadn’t thought he’d like so much. I had somehow gotten by without making it again since we’ve moved south and thought it was about time I do so.
This go-round, I combined the recipe I used initially (Bobby Flay’s Shrimp and Grits Recipe from the Food Network) and Marion Sullivan’s Shrimp and Grits from Nathalie Dupree’s Shrimp & Grits cookbook:
Best Shrimp and Grits EVER
- 1 1/2 cups chicken broth
- 2 cups milk (at least) (I use 2%)
- 3/4 cup yellow stone-ground grits (I’ve used instant in the past – just follow the directions on the package, but sub broth and milk for water)
- Garlic salt to taste
- 3/4 cup heavy cream
- 3 tbsps butter
- 1 1/2 cups sharp cheddar, shredded
- 1/2 cup Gruyere, shredded
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 4 large cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 cup or so sliced mushrooms of your liking
- 1 14.5oz can diced tomatoes, strained (I used fire roasted with garlic)
- 2 tbsps Worcestershire sauce
- 4 tsps lemon juice
- 1/2 cup thinly sliced scallions
- 8 strips of bacon
- 1 lb medium shrimp, peeled, de-veined, rinsed and patted dry (luckily, Dr. Matthews takes care of this dirty work for me :-))
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Bring the chicken broth and milk to a boil in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Stir in the grits and simmer over medium heat, stirring frequently, until they begin to thicken and soften, about 30 minutes. You may need to add more milk as you go. (I added a good deal more milk and turned the heat down a bit, as the grits appeared to be scorching at the bottom of the pan/drying out.) Stir in the cream, butter, garlic salt, ground pepper to taste and cheeses and continue to simmer until the grits are soft and creamy and the cheese is melted. Stir frequently because milk solids burn easily.
Saute the bacon until crisp. Remove from pan and crumble. Add onion and garlic to the pan and saute in bacon grease until the begin to soften, about 3 minutes. (I always add the onion a bit before the garlic, as garlic tends to cook faster.) Add the mushrooms and saute until they begin to soften, about 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes, crumbled bacon, Worcestershire and lemon juice. Simmer for 5 minutes to blend flavors. Add the shrimp and saute, stirring, until they turn pink. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Divide grits onto plates and spoon shrimp mixture on top, sprinkling scallions as desired. (I also sprinkle some dried parsley and a few grinds of fresh black pepper, for fanciness.)
Totally unprovoked, Dr. Matthews exclaimed that this was THE BEST thing I have ever made, EVER. I can’t say I disagree that it was up there. We hadn’t had the tomatoes last time and they added nice texture and flavor (same with the mushrooms). I also enjoyed the slight sharpness of the Gruyere in the cheese grits. Frankly, I did not think this was the best left over, but Dr. Matthews continued to rave about it even reheated. It also didn’t hurt that we got our shrimp fresh from the local farmers market that day 🙂