Mardi Gras Shrimp & Grits

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I know I will face some traditionalist dissent on this…shrimp and grits are from the Georgia/South Carolina low country…New Orleans shrimp is etouffee…Mardi Gras is all about gumbo.  I hear you, but encourage you to compare the ingredients list for this recipe to the  venerable NoLA French Market’s Mardi Gras float above…shrimp, hot sauce, sausage (the pig is playing the saxophone)…I’m sure cheese grits are on the back side…I think I see corn.  And this recipe is EASY — a galley priority. So, Chere, as the Indian sing…

Get out the dishes,
Tu-way-pa-ka-way!
Get out the pan,
Tu-way-pa-ka-way!

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For this week’s post we commandeered our friend Alex’s galley, as ours were winterized.  Despite a full canvas cover and a torrential rain, the pirates prevailed!

Lest you bookmark this as a winter recipe, though, we have enjoyed it on summer cruises too — here is Captain Peter enjoying a bowl for dinner en route to Pensacola.  And yes, it’s easy enough that you can make it heeled over in 18 knots of wind!

Looks good before a night watch, right?

Easy Low Country Shrimp & Grits

For the grits:
1 cup old fashioned (not quick cooking) grits
1-1/2 cups whole (or lowfat) milk
1/2 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese (white cheddar if you seek to be fancy)
1/2 teaspoon pepper

For the shrimp:
1 lb of medium-large shrimp, raw and peeled
1 tablespoon paprika
1/2 tablespoon cayenne pepper
16 ounces andouille or kielbasa/polish-type sausage
1/3 cup sour cream
Hot sauce (Crystal or Tabasco)
5-6 green onions, chopped

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Combine 1-1/2 cups milk, 1/2 cup sour cream, and 2 cups water in a saucepan and bring to a boil (if you’re using lowfat milk, use a bit more sour cream and cut back equally on the water).  When boiling, whisk in 1 cup grits and a teaspoon of salt.  Reduce the heat, cover, and cook until thickened, about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

 

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While grits are cooking, sprinke shrimp with paprika and cayenne; this is largely where the heat comes from, so there is a bit of “to taste”…we tend to like hot, and use about 1/2 tablespoon cayenne and a tablespoon of paprika.

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Slice the sausage in half lengthwise, then into half-moons.  Saute sausage until browned in a tablespoon or so of bacon grease or oil.  (16 ounces is a lot of sausage.  We use it all (typical package size) to avoid having leftovers rattling around the icebox, and so that family who don’t do shrimp can pick around those and still share the dish, but you could cut back to 8-12 ounces depending on your affection for meat.)

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When the sausage is browned, remove and set aside and use the pan with the heavenly drippings to cook the shrimp.  If your pan is big enough, you can leave the sausage in for this step, but you don’t want the pan too crowded or the shrimp won’t cook evenly.  They will take about 3-5 minutes to cook through, turning pink and firming a bit…just bite into one to test it.

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When shrimp are cooked, turn off the stove and stir in a healthy spoonful (about 1/4 to 1/3 cup) sour cream, letting it mix with the well-seasoned drippings to form a silky sauce.

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When grits are cooked, remove from heat and stir in a cup of shredded cheese, and a half teaspoon or so of pepper.

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Before serving, add hot sauce to the shrimp — we are Crystal people, but Tobasco or whatever you like.  This is, again, a matter of taste — we go about fifteen shakes.  Stir thoroughly to combine.

Shrimp and grits

Put a healthy dollop of grits on each plate, making a well in the center.  Top with shrimp and chopped green onions.

Join us next week for our full Mardi Gras dinner, with New Orleans “Wop Salad” and King Cake, and laissez les bon temps rouler!

4 thoughts on “Mardi Gras Shrimp & Grits

  1. Dear Galley  Pirates, I’m sure that Alex had no problems with the GP invasion of his galley!

    Sent from my Samsung smartphone on AT&T

    Like

  2. And especially a win-win for the guest from land locked Nebraska who got to enjoy the experience and the amazing meal!! It was great fun!

    Like

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