There are a ton of nights where you simply don't want to leave the house for groceries. It's nice to have some staples on hand for lazy evenings. Frozen shrimp are so versatile and easy to cook with! Shrimp and grits sounds intimidating but is incredibly easy to throw together. You'll be surprised by how little effort it takes to gain so much flavor. You can, of course, use fresh shrimp. The only difference between the two is giving the frozen ones a little rinse in cold water to defrost them.
When you're shopping for shrimp (I prefer tail-on, there's so much flavor in the shells!) it is sold by size and the sizes are expressed in counts per pound. For example, jumbo shrimp is expressed as 21/25, meaning that there would be an average of 23 shrimp per pound. Grits is a type of maize, or corn porridge. These two are a traditional pairing that is often eaten during breakfast. We're adding a little cream and cheese to the grits to make them extra tasty. The creamy grits are a perfect canvas for the saucy shrimp, kielbasa, tomatoes, onions, and peppers! Let's get cooking!
What You Need:
For the grits:
4 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup whipping cream
1 cup quick cooking grits or cornmeal
Salt and pepper
1 tbsp butter
1/4 cup Parmesan
For the shrimp:
2 tbsp butter
1/2 medium onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 green bell pepper, seeded and diced
1/2 pound kielbasa sausage - about 2 sausages (I love Evergood)
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 1/2 - 2 lbs uncooked shrimp, preferably large-jumbo size, peeled and de-veined
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes (I love S&W Brand Italian seasoned diced tomatoes)
Chopped chives for garnish
What To Do:
1. Begin by preparing all the veggies. Chop the top off of the green bell pepper, remove the white ribs and seeds and then dice the pepper.
2. Dice a small yellow onion.
3. Clean, peel and de-vein the shrimp. If your shrimp are frozen, simply cover them in cold water, rinsing them with cold water until they are defrosted.
4. Slice the kielbasa sausages into 1/2" coins.
5. Now that all that is prepared, we'll make the grits. Shrimp cooks in seconds, so it's best to start the grits now. In a saucepan, bring the 4 cups of chicken stock and 1/2 cup whipping cream to a low simmer. Once simmering, stir in the grits and season with salt.
6. Stir constantly, until thickened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the butter and Parmesan cheese. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Keep on low heat while you cook the shrimp.
7. Now for the shrimp! Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Melt 2 tbsp butter and sauté the onions, minced garlic, and green bell pepper. Season with salt and pepper.
8. Once the onions are tender and translucent, add the kielbasa. We want to get nice browning on the sausage to bump up the flavor in the dish.
9. Once the sausage is warmed thru, add the diced tomatoes and white wine. Bring to a boil.
10. Add the shrimp!
11. The shrimp will only take a few minutes to cook. Large shrimp only needs 3-4 minutes total cooking time, medium shrimp 2 1/2 - 3 1/2 minutes, and small shrimp 2 - 2 1/2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Once they've turned from translucent to gaining just a bit of color, take them off the heat. There will be a bunch of carry-over cooking, so if you take them off the heat right when they turn color, they should be perfect.
12. Serve the shrimp and kielbasa goodness over the cheesy grits and garnish with chopped chives.
The best part about this meal is how the garlicky, robust sauce from the tomatoes, kielbasa, and shrimp douses the Parmesan cheese grits. This dish has a great foundation of flavor from sautéing the onions and peppers, but browning the sausage adds another dimension of flavor to the shrimp. I love this dish - the texture of the grits combined with the tender sautéed onions and peppers are so yummy with the crisp-edged sausage and juicy shrimp!! This one seems decadent but really should be a staple in your dinner rotation. Hope you guys give it a try.