Creamy "Grits" with Creole Shrimp

Total Time:
35 min
15 min
20 min

4 servings

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, 2 turns of the pan
  • 3 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 ribs celery with green leafy tops, finely chopped
  • 1 small green bell pepper, seeded and finely chopped
  • 4 to 5 sprigs fresh thyme, intact
  • 1 bay leaf, fresh or dried
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce, eyeball it
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons hot sauce (recommended: Frank's Red Hot), divided
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup beer, 1/3 of a bottle
  • 3 cups chicken stock, divided
  • 1 (14-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup chopped frozen okra, optional
  • 1 1/2 pounds peeled, deveined medium to large shrimp, tails removed
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 cup quick cooking (sometimes marked "instant") polenta
  • Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add extra-virgin olive oil and 1 tablespoon butter. When butter melts into extra-virgin olive oil, add garlic, onions, celery, bell peppers, thyme, bay leaf then season with salt and pepper. Cook veggies 7 to 8 minutes until tender, add in the Worcestershire, 1 to 2 tablespoons hot sauce (medium to spicy heat level) and the flour and cook 1 minute more then add in beer and cook it off, another 30 seconds or so. Whisk in 1 cup of stock then add tomatoes and okra, if using, and bring to a bubble. Add shrimp and cook 3 to 5 minutes, until shrimp turn pink and firm then turn off heat. Remove thyme stems and bay leaf.

  • Bring remaining 2 tablespoons butter, 2 cups stock, 1 cup milk and 2 teaspoons hot sauce, to a boil in a sauce pot. Stir in 1 cup quick cooking polenta. Stir constantly to mass the cornmeal. Once the mixture thickens to the consistency of whipped potatoes, season the "grits" with salt and divide among dinner plates.

  • Serve generous ladles of shrimp and sauce on a bed of creamy "grits".

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