The pickle man

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Louisiana Saturday Night - shrimp and grits

Sometimes weekend meals end up having to be ready faster than weeknight meals in my house (remember, I get off of work at 3 and live in a town with no commute - I'm terribly spoiled).  Whereas on Saturdays, sometimes we make it to multiple birthday parties and Sam's - with both kids.

This took less than 30 minutes.  My son's comment:  "These shrimp are excellent.  I like them so much I am going to give you a dinosaur sticker when I finish eating."  I am currently wearing triceratops on my shoulder (apparently he is reserving the blue T-Rex for more amazing feats).

Shrimp were on sale this Friday at the grocery, so I bought some.  I wasn't entirely sure what I was going to do with them, but sometimes I force myself to be creative.  If my family had to eat only what I felt most confident cooking, we would rotate among grilled chicken, pasta, bread, and my mom's chocolate cake.

But back to the shrimp.  After I bought them, we got invited to dinner at a friend's (for some truly amazing gumbo), so the shrimp were put on hold until tonight.   I didn't want to leave them any longer - they had to be on sale for a reason, right?

Anyway, for the sake of specificity, this was one pound of 31-40 count, shell on, previously frozen, Louisiana shrimp.  They thawed for a day in my fridge (in 2 plastic bags).

So, my time break down - less than 30 minutes with both kids.

First, I put the baby in the baby seat and gave him some green beans (out of a can) and some graham crackers. Oh the things my 2nd child eats.

Then I diced an onion.  If you aren't an expert onion dicer, watch this  (this is exactly how I do it, minus the 2 horizontal cuts, which I think are unnecessary).

Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a cast iron skillet (I love this thing - it gets easier to clean the more you use it - how many kitchen tools can you say that about).  Add 1/2 onion, chopped, and a pinch of salt.  Add a bell pepper if you have one.  I didn't.  Saute until clear.  While this is going, peel the shrimp (pausing every 5-10 shrimp to stir the onions and replenish the green beans for the baby).

  Add 1 tsp jarred garlic and a can of tomatoes (I had mild rotel, mixed with green chiles, but I would have used anything on the shelf).  Add approximately 1/2 cup of white wine and 1 Tablespoon Worchestershire.
Cook this for about 5-10 minutes.  Meanwhile, start the grits.
whisk = the key to non-lumpy grits

To make grits, I use 2 cups of water and 2 cups of skim milk (the milk makes them creamier - for more flavor, you can also use chicken broth).  Bring the liquids to a boil (with a little salt).  Then pour 1 scant cup of grits in a slow stream while whisking constantly.  Then cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes.
My 4 year old took this picture - he wanted in on the action - this is me pouring grits in a stream while whisking :)  Guaranteed lump free
 - side note - I do love cheese grits, and you could definitely add cheese to your grits, but I didn't have any grated cheese in the fridge, and there was way too much going on in the kitchen for me to stop and grate any.

Meanwhile, add the shrimp to the onions and tomatoes.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until the shrimp are pink and opaque.  I added 1 more tablespoon of butter at the very end to "finish" the dish, and sprinkled a little dried parsley, but this is optional.

Serve the shrimp over the grits.  I also served French bread from my freezer and a green salad (out of a box, but I did add arugula and radish sprouts from the garden - for more info on the garden, check out the blog my husband started today... yeah, he was jealous.  Or he wanted to steal my excuse for un-interrupted computer time). Oh, and I used bottled dressing.  Yes, I should whip some up and store it in the fridge, but I love Brasewell's Vidalia Onion and Peppercorn more than any salad dressing I've ever made. 

Condensed recipe:
For the shrimp:
2 Tablespoons butter
1/2 yellow onion, diced
1 can mild Rotel tomatoes and green chiles
1 tsp miced garlic
1 Tablespoon Lea and Perrins Worcestershire
1/2 cup white wine
1 lb peeled uncooked shrimp

Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a skillet.  Add chopped onion.  Saute until clear.  Add tomatoes, garlic, Worcestershire, and wine.  Cook 7-8 minutes.  Add shrimp.  Cook 7-8 minutes.  Add the remaining tablespoon of butter.  Serve over grits (with French bread for sauce dipping, if at all possible).

For the grits:
2 cups water
2 cups skim milk
pinch salt
1-2 Tablespoons butter (optional)
Cheese (optional)

Bring the liquids and salt to a boil.  Whisk the grits into the boiling mixture in a slow steady stream.  Cook 5-7 minutes.  Add the butter and cheese (if using) at the end.

As a bonus, we discovered that the baby absolutely LOVES grits - good to know, since he still gags on rice cereal. But then, if given the choice, I'd go for the grits, too.