I live on the coast and I am always surprised at how hard it is to find shrimp that is wild caught (we don't do farm-raised in this house). The store I usually shop at is undergoing renovation so selection has been a bit off, but even the two other stores I shop at just had farm-raised stuff from either Indonesia or Thailand. I was really in the mood for shrimp so I ended up at the really expensive fish market down by the bay. I am talking expensive here, but when you are having a craving you just have to go there.
I've made shrimp and grits before but I have to say that this time the dish turned out spectacular; full of flavor and just this side of too spicy hot. The difference was mostly in how I chopped the vegetables and the sausage (which I doubled). I chopped everything really fine, but left the shrimp whole. The fine chop ensured that there was plenty of flavor topping each piece of shrimp and mixed in with the grits. I really liked how the chop changed things up and was really surprised that it could make such a difference.
Cajun Shrimp and Grits
- 7 cups water
- Salt to taste (about 1 teaspoon)
- 2 cups grits
- ¼ cup heavy cream
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- Fresh ground black pepper to taste
- 1 ½ pound uncooked shrimp peeled and deveined
- 3 tablespoons Cajun seasoning (I used Bubba’s Swamp Seasoning)
- Salt to taste
- 12 ounces Andouille sausage, small dice
- 1 small yellow onion, small dice
- 1 red bell pepper, stem and seeded, small dice
- 1 green bell pepper, stem and seeded, small dice
- 2 cloves garlic finely minced
- ¾ cups chicken broth
- ½ cup heavy cream
- 4 green onions, white and some green parts, chopped
For the Grits:
- In a large sauce pan heat the water to a boil, add salt and grits. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook grits until tender, stirring frequently, about 45 minutes.
- Add cream, butter and pepper. Continue to cook for about 10 minutes more. Remove from heat and cover until ready to serve.
For the Shrimp:
- Season the shrimp with some of the Cajun seasoning, about 2 teaspoons, and the salt. Toss to coat.
- Heat 1 tablespoon vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat, add the Andouille sausage and saute for about 3 minutes until the Andouille has browned and released some of its fat. Remove from pan to a bowl.
- Pour off all but 1 tablespoon of the fat remaining in the pan. Add the shrimp and cook 2 to 3 minutes, until just pink. Remove from pan to the bowl with the sausage.
- Add 1 tablespoon vegetable oil to the pan if needed and add onion and peppers. Saute until vegetables have softened, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and the rest of the Cajun seasoning and saute for an additional 30 seconds. Add the chicken broth and continue to cook for 5 or more minutes until broth has reduced by about half.
- Add the cream, green onions, shrimp and sausage to the pan. Simmer until the cream has thickened, about 3 minutes more. The sauce should be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.
- Serve over grits.