Shrimp & Grits, Part 1

Today we're doing a special at Bennett's that was inspired by a conversation I had with Elaine "Belle" Lincoln of the Port of Seattle. We were talking about food and given her slightly diluted southern drawl, it's not surprising that the topic turned to classic southern dishes. She told me she had a great recipe for shrimp and grits and was generous enough to send it to me a couple days later.  I loved the idea of the recipe, especially mixing sausage in with the grits, so I wanted to put my own spin on it for the restaurant. As a tip of the hat, though, I want to post her original recipe here for all of you. Feel free to use some great Beecher's cheeses in the recipe.

Ingredients:
4 cups chicken broth
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup grits
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
2 tbsp butter
6 green onions, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 pound peeled and cooked shrimp
1 10oz can Rotel tomatoes
4 slices bacon or hot bulk sausage

Bring the broth with 1/2 teaspoon of salt to a boil in a medium saucepan. Stir in the grits, cover and reduce heat to simmer for 10 minutes (length depends on the type of grits). Stir in 3/4 cup of the cheddar and all of the Monterey Jack.
In a skillet, melt the butter and sautee the onion, bell pepper and garlic until tender. Transfer from the skillet to the grits, stirring it in, and add the shrimp, tomatoes, remaining salt & pepper and the sausage/bacon.
Pour everything into a baking dish and top with the remaining cheddar cheese. Bake at 350 degrees F for 30-45 minutes.

I'll have the full post of our version of shrimp and grits tomorrow, but stay tuned to facebook & twitter for progress throughout the day.
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