Sunday, May 8, 2011

kiss my grits

There are some things every good Southerner should know. How to bait your own hook, how to talk trash during football season, and how to make good cheese grits. These are really the essentials. Okay, there are probably a few other things, but these are pretty important. And when it comes to grits - we mean business. We eat them early in the morning, and late at night. And we never eat them out of a pre-made instant packet. Blasphemy!

This is my family's take on the low country classic shrimp and grits. To make enough grits for four to six folks (carnivores and vegetarians) you will need the following ingredients:

for the grits:
1 cup of stone ground grits
1 cup of vegetable broth
1 cup of whole milk
2 cups of water
2 cups of organic shredded cheese (get the good stuff)
1/4 cup of organic butter
a bit of salt and pepper

for the toppings:
4 strips of organic hardwood bacon
20-25 medium shrimp
a bunch of green onions
2 cloves of garlic
a bunch of fresh parsley
2-4 fake crab cakes
a tlbsp of butter

Start by pouring the milk, broth and water in a medium sized pot. Heat until boiling. Add in the grits and stir with a bit of salt and pepper. Cover and reduce to a simmer for around 20 minutes or until all the water is absorbed. Remove from heat. Add in the cheese and butter, and melt thoroughly before serving. Keep covered. In the meantime, cook four pieces of bacon. Remove from skillet. In same skillet add one minced garlic clove and two sliced green onions on medium heat. Add in shrimp once garlic is fragrant. Cook until plump and pink. Remove from skillet and toss with bacon that has been chopped in a small bowl. In separate small skillet cook the other garlic clove and more green onion in the butter until soft. Then assemble the bowls. Add a generous amount of grits to each. In the carnivore plates top with the bacon and shrimp mixture. In the vegetarian ones, add one or two fake crab cakes (Whole Foods has really good ones in their pre-made section) and the sauteed garlic and onions. Finally, sprinkle fresh parsley over each.

I know it sounds like a lot of work, but it really isn't. And the end result is soul stuffing good. Plus, as any good Southerner knows, somethings are worth the wait - like that big fish you hooked after a day with no bites, or that win over your rival team after a years of loosing, or rich creamy cheese grits.

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