My "back porch" is my kitchen, my favorite room in the house. Come on in, the coffee is fresh, and I just made a pitcher of sweet tea. The cookies will be out in a minute. I have over 40 years of recipes to share with you, along with my opinion on everything. Oh my, you are right, it is cocktail time. What can I get you? Of course I can make you a Mint Julep! Stop by anytime, something is always cooking, and the back door is never locked.

Bon Appetit, Y'all

Monday, January 11, 2010

Shrimp and Grits

Shrimp and Grits are definitely in my top five favorite "things to eat". If you think you hate grits just wait, you'll be telling everybody you know about this dish.

Low-country cooking at it's best. Several years ago I lived in Charleston, S.C. for a short while. One of my most favorite places to visit, of course I could also live there, because they have a Harris Teeter grocery. Everyone should make Charleston a place to visit someday.

Years ago the only people who ate Shrimp and Grits were poor people and slaves, and only for breakfast. Grits were cheap, they call them hominy, and the shrimp you caught right out of the creek. This dish now is found at truck stops to the many 5 star restaurants in and around the city. My favorite was a small restaurant on King Street, Justine's , chrome leg tables, paper place mats and a line out the door. Their table wine was the best sweet tea in the world.

This recipe is not from Justine's but it is dead on. The Post and Courier, Charlestons newspaper, published this one week end and that was it for me, I haven't used another recipe for Shrimp and Grits since. I know you will enjoy it.

Shrimp and Grits

2 cups of whole milk
1 cup stone-ground white grits (no instant)
1 oz. butter
salt and pepper to taste

2 oz. unsalted butter
2 tablespoons diced onion
3 tablespoons finely diced red bell pepper
2 oz. country ham
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup sherry or water
8 drops of Tabasco or other hot sauce
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 pound medium fresh local shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 1/2 tablespoons finely snipped chives
Grated Parmesan cheese (optional)

For the grits: Scald the milk and add grits. Stir for 1 minute. On very low heat, stir often for 10 minutes, stopping occasionally to skim the hulls from off the top. Then continue cooking until tender, approximately 1 1/2 hours, or read directions of grit bag or box, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and add butter and salt and pepper to taste.

For the shrimp: In the butter over medium heat, cook the onion, bell pepper and ham until onions are translucent. Add the water, sherry and hot sauce. Cook, stirring and scraping, until amount of liquid is reduced by half. Add the cream and continue cooking until thickened to a light sauce. Add shrimp, stir and cook until it forms light sauce consistency. Add chives and season. Ladle shrimp and sauce over grits. Can sprinkle lightly with Parmesan cheese if desired. Serve with scrambled eggs and biscuits if for breakfast or sliced tomatoes and cornbread if it is lunch. Polite society of Charleston never serve Shrimp and Grits for supper.

Just a word of caution, DO NOT use instant or quick cooking grits. Stone ground are not that hard to find. If you don't have country ham, Virginia baked will be fine.

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