I am not a fan of grits, which is probably why I never had the slightest interest in them or a desire to try them. Okay, so I’ve never even had grits up until a few weeks ago. I just mentally wrote them off and never thought twice about trying them because they appeared to be very similar to Cream of Wheat, which I do not like – the consistency, the texture, the grittiness – it just turns me off! Shrimp and grits is such a classic southern-style dish with a delicious history. The look of it alone makes my mouth water, but I could never get past the grits! I decided to stop judging something that I’d never even eaten and give it a try.
The U Street Corridor in Northwest DC is bustling with eclectic and unique restaurants, bars, lounges and boutiques. It is, hands down, one of my favorite neighborhoods in the DC area and is filled with so much history and substance. Marvin, a classic bistro and lounge named after the legendary Marvin Gaye, is nestled in the heart of the U Street Corridor and has some the best food in the area. I visited this gem a few weeks back and decided to step outside of my comfort zone and order the shrimp and grits appetizer. I’ll just say, I am extremely pissed that I waited so long to try this dish. It is AMAZEBALLS! The grits were extremely smooth and creamy, and the shrimp were huge, juicy and flavorful. The dish just came together so well. I can’t believe that I’m just now getting around to this southern classic!
So, of course I had to get in the kitchen and whip up my version of this amazing dish. The classic shrimp and grits recipe calls for shrimp, bacon, green onions, cajun seasoning and cheese grits. I decided to put my own twist on the dish and rid of the bacon (we’re not big pork eaters in my house), and add spicy chicken sausage, onion and peppers to the mix. Let me just say…this recipe is to die for! Thank me later. 🙂
- 1 lb. medium/large shrimp, peeled & deveined with tails on
- 2 Aidells habanero & green chile smoked chicken sausage links, diced (or sausage of your choice)
- 1 yellow, orange or red pepper, diced
- 1 small red onion, diced
- 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese
- 2 1/2 cups water
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1 cup quick grits
- 3 tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped
- salt & pepper
- 2 tbsp. garlic powder
- 1/2 tbsp. cayenne pepper
- 1 1/2 tbsp. old bay seasoning
- 1 tbsp. paprika
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
Heat 2 tbsp. of olive oil in skillet. Saute diced red onions, diced peppers, diced sausage and 2 tbsp. of parsley over medium heat for 8-10 minutes. Reduce heat to low and stir in pepper (to taste), 1 tbsp. of garlic powder, 1/2 tbsp. of cayenne pepper and 1/2 tbsp. of paprika.
Bring 1/3 cup of water to a boil in a medium-sized saucepan. Add shrimp and old bay seasoning and stir for 2-3 minutes. DO NOT cook shrimp all the way through. Once shrimp are slightly cooked and tad-bit pink, dump all contents (shrimp and seasoned water) into sautéed mixture. Add a splash of heavy cream and stir until all ingredients are thoroughly mixed. Simmer on low heat.
While the shrimp and sausage mixture is simmering, bring 2 cups of water and 2 cups of heavy cream to a boil. Add 1 cup of quick grits. Stir grits and reduce heat to low. Stir occasionally and allow grits to simmer for 5-6 minutes until the grits to thicken up. Stir in pepper (to taste), 1 tbsp. of garlic powder, 1/2 tbsp. of paprika, and 1 cup of cheddar cheese.
Spoon cheesy grits into bowl and top with a generous amount of shrimp and sausage mixture. Garnish dish with a little parsley and serve immediately. This recipe makes about 4-6 servings.
Be prepared for an explosion of flavor in your mouth. This southern-style dish is fulfilling, rich in flavor and your ideal comfort food. I LOVE comfort food but I definitely limit my intake of the rich and heavy dishes. So, with that said, it’s not a dish that I will indulge in regularly, but definitely one that I will revisit every once in a while to satisfy my craving.
I hope you enjoy this shrimp and grits recipe – my way!