Monday, February 9, 2015

SundaySupper Comfort Food with Lee Woodruff

#SundaySupper Comfort Food with Lee Woodruff...Featuring Down-Home Comforting Shrimp and Grits

Cheesy Shrimp and Grits. Nom. I mean wow. So good. Did not add heavy cream at end. Didn't need it. Make sure to really pour in the cornmeal slowly otherwise you get some lumps. Delicious. Incredible. Bravo

The theme for this week's #SundaySupper is Comfort Food, and we're being joined by a very special guest: Lee Woodruff. Lee is an author, TV contributor, and fellow food lover. She has a food blog called ...Food for Thought, so be sure to check it out! Comfort food has different meanings, depending on who you ask. For some people, it means food that warms you up on a crispy evening. For others, it's food that reminds them of their childhood or their heritage. Some of my favorite comfort foods are gumbo, my Mom's mashed potatoes, and my Grandma Wofford's Thanksgiving cornbread dressing. One bite of these foods, and I feel like I'm wrapped up in a warm, fuzzy blanket. Ironically? The recipe I'm sharing today isn't one I grew up eating...but have learned to love as an adult: grits. Not just any grits, mind you, but Down-Home Comforting Shrimp and Grits!

This dish combines cheesy corn grits with spicy shrimp. This is southern comfort at its me, y'all!! My favorite grits are from Zea's restaurant. They're rich and creamy...and studded with nutty roasted corn kernels. Since the nearest Zea's is in Louisiana, I was THRILLED to find the recipe for these amazing grits on their website! The only tweaks I made to their recipe were to use half-and-half in place of heavy cream, roast the corn kernels in bacon fat (don't hate...this is COMFORT food, people!), and a bit of shredded co-jack cheese stirred in just before serving. The shrimp mixture is my own's spicy from a generous amount of Cajun seasoning, but the heat is tempered by adding a small amount of cream to the sauce. If all the fat in this recipe is making you feel guilty, do what I do: thoroughly enjoy a moderate portion...then pencil in a salad for dinner tomorrow night!

Down-Home Comforting Shrimp and Grits
Grits adapted from Zea's Restaurant
Step 1: Cook two slices of bacon in a large skillet, then crumble and set aside. Remove all but 1 tbs. of the bacon fat from the pan. Turn the heat to med-high and add 1 cup thawed frozen corn kernels. Cook until the liquid cooks off and the kernels begin to toast and turn golden brown. This will take about 8 minutes. Give the corn a stir about halfway through so it can brown on all sides.

Step 2: Add 2 cups chicken stock and 2 cups half and half to a large saucepan over med-high heat. Bring to a boil and add the roasted corn kernels. Slowly whisk in 1 cup of yellow cornmeal, then reduce heat to med-low. Cook for 10 minutes, giving the grits a whisk every couple of minutes to keep them from sticking on bottom. When the grits are cooked and thickened, add 2 tbs. softened  butter and 3/4 cup shredded colby-jack cheese. Whisk well to completely incorporate the cheese and butter. Set aside while you prepare the shrimp.

Step 3: Add 2 tbs. butter to a non-stick skillet over med-high heat. Add one diced shallot and two sliced green onions. Cook for 2-3 minutes. Add 1 lb. medium shrimp and 1 tbs. Cajun seasoning. Stir to combine and sear the shrimp on each side until cooked -- about 3-4 minutes total. Add the reserved bacon and 1/3 cup heavy cream and stir well to combine. Cook for 2-3 minutes, until the sauce begins to thicken.

Step 4: To serve, spoon some of the cheesy corn grits into a shallow bowl. Top with a generous serving of the shrimp and sprinkle with more chopped green onion. You should get at least four servings, with plenty of grits leftover for breakfast the next morning.

Mercy, is this dish's true Southern comfort food! Creamy, cheesy grits topped with spicy bacon-studded shrimp. The cream gives provides a touch of richness, and the Cajun seasoning brings a little bit of heat. I especially love the sweet, slightly nutty kernels of corn in the grits! Put it all together, and you've got a fabulous and comforting meal. I hope you'll give this one a try very soon.

Make sure to join us for our weekly Twitter chat this evening at 600 CST. We'll be joined by Lee Woodruff, so it's guaranteed to be a good time...come share some of your favorite comfort food memories with us. In the meantime, take a peek at all the wonderful comfort foods that the rest of the #SundaySupper bunch is featuring's such a wide variety of goodies!

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