Shrimp and Grits, A Pantry Meal.
Chile cheese grits were a staple in our house growing up. We might as well have said CCG like Rachel Ray’s EVOO. We ate them often and in quantity. Corn grits themselves are great with brown sugar or maple syrup but once you add cheese, they become instant comfort food in my book. Grits are an anytime of day kind of food. Although people might respond better if you call it polenta in the evening. There is really no difference between grits and polenta, it just depends on which side of the Mason Dixon line you were raised and what time of day you prefer to eat them.
This is an amazingly simple pantry meal for me. Shrimp (or scallops) are always in the freezer. Cheese is never wanting, also, sometimes found in the freezer. Canned chiles and grits live happily, side by side in my cupboard. The combination of shrimp and grits does well anytime of day be it breakfast, brunch, lunch, or dinner. Just add a bigtime biscuit, or cornbread and a salad to round out the meal (your dietician might want some fruit on there, too).
Cajun Shrimp and Chile Cheese Grits
Bring to a slow boil:
- 3c milk, water, cream or any combination equaling 3 cups
- 2T butter (optional)
Once the milk begins to foam & bubble, whisk in,
- 3/4c grits, or polenta if you must
- 1/2ts white pepper
- pinch paprika
As it begins to thicken, stir in:
- ½ to 1c shredded cheese such as cheddar, jack or Velveta. I stock up on sale cheese and toss it into the freezer.
- 1 can chopped green chiles
Cover and hold on low heat, stirring occasionally until ready to serve. Thin consistency with water or milk.
Clean and set aside:
- shrimp, enough to feed 4 (I figure on 7 big’uns a piece, preparing 28 for a party of four)
In a baggie or bowl, mix together shrimp seasoning:
- 1 part flour to 2 parts Cajun seasoning
Toss shrimp into seasoning and sauté in butter. The shrimp will be done when they form tight little C’s and turn bright pink.
To serve, tip contents of pan, butter and all, onto a bowl of grits
- pickled jalapenos or chopped green onion
It is of course best to get your shrimp fresh, never frozen and then clean and freeze them yourself. As this is hard for most people, I recommend purchasing frozen raw shrimp. If shrimp are not a local seafood to you then avoid purchasing fresh shrimp or even previously frozen shrimp. There is a better chance that they could have gone “fishy” while not being kept chilled properly. I keep an eye out for raw, individually frozen shrimp to stock my pantry/freezer with. Don’t forget to save the shells for other uses like stock.