Southern Comfort: Cheesy Shrimp and Grits…My Version

Some people aren’t big fans of grits; this recipe could change that for ever as it is pretty easy and darn tasty.  Not diet food; we are talking cheese and cream here. Still, I promise; you and yours will love grits after you whip up this luscious entrée!

I used frozen large shrimp; don’t use very small ones, lacking real shrimp flavor.  My pantry didn’t have fancy country ham; just used some ham steak from the grocery store; was fine. My version has fresh tomatoes on it; love the addition.  This is mostly naturally gluten free; just changed the white all purpose flour for the roux to rice flour.  Use most any blend of gf flour you prefer. No bean flour though; that stuff is nasty for most things.

I ate some of it cold the next day; took it along for a lunch out.  No microwave….still tasty cold.  Enjoy!

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Shrimp and Grits

Ingredients

Shrimp:
1/2 pound (26-30 count) Wild Shrimp
1-2 tsp. Cajun seasoning

3/4 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. dried Italian seasoning
Freshly ground black pepper
Grits:
1 cup water
1 gf chicken bouillon cubes
1 tablespoons butter or margarine
1/2 cup quick grits
1 1/2 tsp. tomato paste
3 oz heavy cream  (a glass measuring cup has ounce marks on it)

1 2/3 ounces extra-sharp Cheddar; shred on large grater side
Sauce:
1 tablespoon butter or margarine
1 tsp. minced garlic
1-2 tablespoons rice flour
1/2 cup chicken stock
2 tbsp. heavy whipping cream
1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon hot sauce (recommend: Texas Pete)
¼ cup sugar-cured country ham diced

1 ripe tomato diced
Directions

First, peel and devein the shrimp. In a small bowl, combine Cajun seasoning, paprika, Italian seasoning and salt and pepper, to taste. Sprinkle the spice mixture over the shrimp to coat well and set the shrimp aside while you get all the ingredients ready for the grits and sauce. You want the shrimp to stand at least 4-5 minutes before you fry them so the flavors soak in somewhat.

Now saute the shrimp in a large saute pan: melt 2 tablespoons of butter, add minced garlic and stir for 30 seconds. Add in the spice-coated shrimp, and cook only until they’re just done and tender. Don’t overcook. Remove the shrimp from the saute pan and set them aside in a bowl.
The roux is next. With all those wonderful drippings from the shrimp in the saute pan, add 1-2 tablespoons of rice flour and stir with a wooden spatula to make a roux. Start with one and add more if you think there is enough butter and drippings to mix with it. Cook for 10 to 12 minutes until roux reaches a medium-tan color, then slowly add the chicken stock and heavy whipping cream. Whisk together and cook for 2 minutes, then whisk in Worcestershire sauce and hot sauce. Set aside.
Next, while the roux cooks, make your grits. In a medium saucepan, bring water, chicken bouillon cubes and 2 tablespoons butter to a boil. Slowly add the grits, whisking often with wire whisk for 5 minutes. Add tomato paste, cream, and cheese. Keep whisking for another 2 or 3 minutes until the grits become creamy. Don’t skimp on the butter and the cream, it gotta have that good stuff so you have that great taste!
And last, toppings. Cook 1 center slice of cured country ham in a saute pan, and cut into cubes. I used a ham steak from the store and cut it in small cubes and sauteed it briefly before mixing it with the shrimp. Dice the tomato up.

To serve place 2-3 heaping spoonfuls of steaming cheese grits onto a place, top with half the shrimp and half the ham cubes. Drizzle that yummy roux sauce over top of the shrimp, and sprinkle on half that chunked up tomato. Enjoy this little bit of that world famous Southern cooking even up here in Pennsylvania!
I made a few changes to this recipe – originally by Joe Barnett: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/shrimp-and-grits-recipe

GF Breakfast Is Doable and Delish!

Breakfast, well…that can be sometimes kinda problematic for us celiacs. No more raisin bran, no more cheerios, no more Great Grains cereal.  What to do??  Well, there are a number of options, the Chex Family comes to mind for me: Rice Chex, Cinnamon Chex (my personal fav) and Chocolate Chex which is surprisingly good.   Not many other mainstream GF cold cereals.  I do hear that Special K is coming out in a GF version in a few months; can barely stand the wait; loved that cereal.  Maybe they will even make a version with freeze-dried strawberry slices.  I would be in GF cereal heaven!

cinnamon chex

Anyway, back to reality; there is one gf flaked cereal I have found that floats my boat, Nature’s Path Organic Mesa Sunrise.  It contains corn, flax, buckwheat, quinoa and amaranth.  The flakes are crunchy and hold their own in milk for a few minutes, less sog than any other flakes I have tested. I buy them at Frey’s Better Foods, $9 for a big 26.4 oz bag, yes, that is a lot of moola but it is basically a double sized box making it $4.50 a box which is about what most gf organic cereals cost.  I like it with hemp hearts sprinkled on top and some one percent milk poured in.  The hemp hearts are nutty and crunchy, kinda like a less hard sesame seed.  I keep them in the freezer so they stay fresh.

natures pathhemp hearts

I also prefer my homemade granola with pecans to any I have purchased since going gluten free.  I love it sprinkled over applesauce and over organic yogurt.  It is much more flavorful and it is not hard like pebbles as most GF granola seems to be.  Not sure why they can’t make a decent gf granola to sell but I just make my own every few months and freeze most of it to eat later, stays fresh in my freezer.  I made some today actually, do try it; you will not be disappointed.  The recipe is in my archives.

Hot choices: a few weeks ago I posted my new recipe for quick oats made out of GF rolled oats.  I like it even better than the commercial Ancient Grains Oatmeal by purely elizabeth.  Don’t get me wrong, I like their cereal but I think my own oats are toastier and fresher and I like the pure oat flavor as opposed to their blend of oats, quinoa, amaranth and chia.  I also make old fashioned oatmeal the same way I have for years: boiled in lots of salted water which is drained off before topping with walnuts, dried cranberries, cinnamon, nutmeg and maple syrup: a superb combination of flavors.

Last weekend I made some buckwheat pancakes.  GF, yes; buckwheat is not wheat.  It is not related at all.  Actually in the same family as rhubarb, but you don’t eat the stems like rhubarb, the seeds are what manufacturers grind into buckwheat flour. The cakes were hearty and flavorful with maple syrup and a glass of milk. I also have a great recipe for cinnamon GF waffles which I often make for company, pretty much as good as wheat ones.

I make a bunch of different muffins, apple walnut, banana nut, carrot and raspberry coconut. They are all great for breakfast and can be frozen for a few weeks; just heat them in the microwave: instant breakfast.

2024-11-05 apple muffins 008

Of course, you can go for eggs. I like them soft boiled, scrambled, over easy and in an omelet.  Last Sunday I made an omelet and stuffed it with two jumbo shrimp leftover from the night before, chopped them in chunks, draped them with a slice of provolone cheese which melted over it all.  Wicked yummy that was!  No toast needed either.

Sometimes I make grits and stir in a handful of cheddar cheese when they are cooked and top it with a couple of over easy eggs sprinkled with green hot sauce.  To kick it up even further; top it all with some sauteed peppers slices and a couple of slices of crisp bacon. Now that is some tasty meal, even grit haters might go for that combination!

grits and bacon 2

So don’t skip breakfast; there are some great gluten free options out there.