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Cajun Shrimp and Grits

Shrimp and grits is that perfect Southern dish that warms the body – and it's quite a filling meal. While typically known as a favorite for dining out, this recipe is simple to make at home and goes equally well with both red and white wines. Make sure you splurge a little on the grits or polenta, as stone-ground yellow corn (like those offered by Hayden Flour Mills) work nicely in this recipe!

Ingredients: serves 4

  • 1 pound of shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 4 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 6 ounces tasso ham, diced into small cubes
  • 1 teaspoon garlic
  • 1/4 cup sliced green onions
  • 1/2 cup vegetable broth
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 2 tablespoons worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper
  • 4 cups prepared yellow corn grits or polenta

Begin by melting 3 tablespoons of butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add shrimp to pan. Once they turn slightly pink, remove and reserve them for use later.

Add tasso ham, garlic and green onions to the pan and cook for 6-8 minutes until ham is slightly browned and the onions are soft.

Combine broth, wine, worcestershire, cream, cayenne, thyme, lemon juice and remaining 1 tablespoon of butter. Turn the heat up and bring to a boil. Once boiling, lower to a simmer and allow the sauce to continue to cook until reduced by 1/3. Add the shrimp, turn to low heat and cook until shrimp are warm, 4-5 minutes. Taste and adjust salt and pepper as needed.

Scoop 1 cup of grits or polenta to a plate and spoon the shrimp-ham mixture over it. Garnish with additional green onion slices.

And with that you have a restaurant-quality meal simply prepared in the comforts of your own home.

Cheers, Tim