Do ya ever just get a hankerin’ for grits?
All the Southerners are nodding and smiling in agreement and putting a pulling out their package of grits from the pantry just cuz I mentioned the word grits; while the rest of the world totally doesn’t get what all the fuss is about grits. I suspect the rest of the world either hasn’t tried them, or they were given instant grits, in which case I wouldn’t blame them for the non-love.
I’m not a Southern girl, but I looove me some grits. Because I’m not a Southern girl, I prefer my grits made with milk which makes them creamy and flavorful. When I want grits for dinner, I like to make them cheesy.
Now y’all are wondering why I’m going on about grits when the star should be the Creole Shrimp & Greens; that’s cuz I’m a carb lovin’ fool! I made Creole Shrimp & Greens just so that I could have a big ol’ bowl of Creamy Black Pepper Grits!
Having said that, Creole Shrimp & Greens is nothing to be sneezed at (sorry that I said sneezed in reference to food)!
Creole Shrimp is the perfect combination of lovely sweet, shrimp with spices and aromatics in mildly hot (spicy) sauce.
Greens are not traditionally added to Creole shrimp, but they should be! Seriously the greens lighten up the dish a little. Kale or Swiss chard are quite mild in flavor, so they don’t take over the Creole Shrimp, other greens may be too strong in flavor.
For a vegetarian option, forgo the shrimp and make a skillet of just braised greens using most of the same ingredients...yum, yum & yum! I'm also a greens lovin' fool!
If grits really aren’t your thing, and there’s no way that I or anyone else will convince you to eat them; you can easily serve Creole Shrimp and Greens over rice.
Here’s what you do.
|I bought these pretty pink, shell on Gulf shrimp, cuz I prefer to use ingredients from close to home.|
|Make a shallow cut on the back of the shrimp with a paring knife and use the back of the knife to remove the vein.|
If you really don't want to peel and clean your own shrimp you may buy the raw, cleaned shrimp. In that case you will skip the steps up to this point. Replace the shrimp stock with plain water; or with fish stock and water. See the note at the end of the recipe about this.
|The holy trinity, onion, celery and green bell pepper, diced small; plus minced garlic.|
Cook the veggies with a pinch of salt in a large skillet with 2 1/2 Tbsp. of olive oil over medium-high heat just until they're soft.
|Add some Chinese five spice powder (not creole I know, you'll just have to trust me) and some paprika, cook while stirring for a couple of minutes; the spices will toast just a little which brings out the flavor.|
|Turn the heat down to medium and stir in a little flour and cook that for a couple of more minutes to cook the flour taste out.|
|You may have noticed that I didn't add hot spices, that's because these Rotel tomatoes are spicy, add half of the can of tomatoes. Perhaps you may use the remaining Rotel tomatoes in an omelette for breakfast the next day.|
|Strain the shrimp stock (there should be about 2 1/2 cups of stock, if it's less add a little water) that you made directly into the skillet.|
|Stir in some Herbs de Provence or Italian seasoning, and Worcestershire sauce.|
Reduce the sauce for about 7 minutes, until it thickens just slightly.
Add some chopped kale or Swiss chard with a couple of pinches of salt & pepper; cook that for about 3 minutes.
I like my kale to have a little texture to it; if you prefer soft kale then add the kale at the same time that you added the liquid.
|Season the shrimp with salt and pepper, and add them cooking them 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 minutes on each side, until the shrimp are opaque.|
Meanwhile cook the Creamy Black Pepper Grits.
|I always use half water and half milk in making my grits; put that on and bring to a simmer, watch that the pot doesn't boil over.|
Once the liquid comes to a simmer add a little salt (it's very important to add the salt at this point in order to avoid bland grits), and slowly whisk in the grits.
Cook this whisking frequently for about 5 minutes.
|This cheese is not overly tangy and makes for creamy, peppery grits!|
|Whisk in half of the package of Boursin cheese. Now put a lid on the pan for just a few minutes before serving.|
Creamy Black Pepper Grits are also great served with a steak, stewed meats or chicken.
|At the same time that I made Creole Shrimp & Greens for Billy, I also did just Creole Braised Greens for me. I hadn't planned on posting them, but they were so dang yummy!|
To make Creole Braised Greens, follow the recipe but replace the shrimp stock with water or vegetable stock, also omit the shrimp and double the amount of greens used.
|Creole Shrimp and Greens is just perfect with Creamy Black Pepper Grits, but you may also serve it over regular grits or rice.|
CREOLE SHRIMP & GREENS
Makes 2 generous (big man) servings
12 oz. Peel on large shrimp (size 31-35)
3 cups Water
1 Bay leaf
1 Bay leaf
2 ½ Tbsp. Olive oil
1 Small green bell pepper, small dice
2 stalks Celery, small dice
½ Large onion, small dice
2 cloves Garlic, minced
½ tsp. Chinese five spice powder
¾ tsp. Sweet paprika
1 Tbsp. Flour
½ can Rotel tomatoes (a can is 10 oz.)
½ tsp. Herbs de Provence or Italian seasoning
1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
2 cups Kale or Swiss chard, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
1. Leaving the tails on, peel the shrimp. In a medium sauce pan add just the shrimp shells to the 3 cups of water, and a bay leaf, simmer for 30 (by the time you're done prepping the rest of dinner the shrimp stock will be ready). Devein the shrimp by making a shallow cut down the back of the shrimp and removing the vein. Refrigerate the shrimp until you’re ready to cook the dish.
2. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium high-heat; add the bell pepper, celery, onion and garlic to the pan with a pinch of salt. Cook while stirring frequently just until the veggies are soft.
3. Once the vegetables are soft, add the Chinese five spice powder and the paprika, cook while stirring for 2 – 3 minutes.
4. Turn the heat down to medium heat and stir in the flour; cook while stirring for 2 or 3 minutes.
5. Pour the shrimp stock that you made earlier through a strainer (there should be about 2 1/2 cups of stock, if there's not just add a little water to get it there) and add it the skillet; also add the Rotel tomatoes, Herbs de Provence (or Italian seasoning), and Worcestershire sauce. Simmer until the sauce is slightly thickened (5-7 minutes).
6. Add the kale (or Swiss chard) with a pinch each of salt and pepper to the reduced sauce and cook for about 3 minutes. I like my kale to have texture; if you prefer soft kale add the kale at the same time as the liquid in step 5.
7. Season the shrimp with a pinch each of salt and pepper, add that to the skillet cook for 2 ½ to 3 ½ minutes on each side, until the shrimp are opaque. Taste the sauce and add salt & pepper if needed.
Serve Creole Shrimp & Greens over Creamy Black Pepper Grits (recipe follows), regular grits, or rice.
Note: If you really don’t want to peel and clean your own shrimp you may buy shrimp that’s peeled and deveined. You may use 2 ½ cups of plain water; or 2 cups store bought fish stock plus ½ cup water.
CREAMY BLACK PEPPER GRITS
Makes 2 generous servings
¾ cup Grits, preferably stone ground (definitely not instant)
1 ¼ cup Milk
1 cup Water
¼ tsp. heaping Salt
½ package Boursin gornay cheese, with pepper
1. Bring the milk and water to just up to a simmer (careful it doesn’t boil over) in a 3 quart sauce pan.
2. Add the salt and slowly whisk the grits into the liquid. Reduce the heat to medium and continue to cook, whisking frequently for about 5 minutes.
3. Whisk in the Boursin cheese. Remove the pan from the heat and put a lid on it. Allow this to sit for about 3 minutes before serving.
Serve Creamy Black Pepper Grits with Creole Shrimp and Greens, braised greens, steak, stewed meats or chicken.