Thursday, April 2, 2009

Revisiting "Ham Biscuits,Hostess Gowns, & Other Southern Specialties"!

I've spent my adult life in the South – graduated college here, moved from Roswell, Georgia to Buckhead (Peachtree Road) then back to the Roswell area. After that, it was off to Charleston, South Carolina - Limehouse Street to be exact. From there, headed back to Peachtree Road. Did a very short stint in Greenville, South Carolina. Actually that was the hubby’s stint but I would visit him, so we kept the Peachtree Road pad for me! Then after Peachtree Road we were off to the Country Music Capital of the world - Nashville of course! Now we currently reside in the Atlanta area with visions of retiring to Savannah or Charleston. Perhaps earlier if we can swing it! So, as one would think, I feel like a true Southerner! But, as much as I hate to admit it, I’m really not! My true, blue, Southern, genteel, Hubby points it out to me all the time. Yes, he is indeed a true Southerner, other then a brief stint up in New Jersey where his wife never stayed more then a week, and actually helped him get out of it permanently. No way, was I moving to Parsippany! I bring all this up because I’m thinking about Shrimp and Grits!

When I first landed on southern soil as a junior in college, I was waiting tables like most juniors in collage, and a customer asked me for grits. Being on Southern soil for less than one month, I gave it the old college try (the cook was away from his post) and I was trying to please the hungry customer. When I arrived back to the table, the customer asked me if I was from Chicago. I said not quite but close, and proceded to return the hash brown potatoes back to the kitchen.

With Easter being just next week, and knowing all too well about grits, I’m thinking Shrimp & Grits for brunch. And again I’m turning to Julia for this one. I just heard through the grapevine,"Ham Biscuits, Hostess gowns, and Other Southern Specialties" is coming out soon in paperback. Go grab a copy!

Shrimp And Grits

For the Grits
¾ cup grits
¼ teaspoon salt
6 ounces white cheddar cheese, grated (or a mixture of half cheddar, half parmesan)
3 tablespoons butter

For the Shrimp
4 tablespoons butter
¾ cup chopped onion
½ cup chopped green bell pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup diced ripe tomatoes with a little of their juice
½ teaspoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon all purpose flour
1 pound medium to large raw shrimp, shelled (reserve the shells for the stock)
½ to 1cup shrimp stock (see note)
1-tablespoon tomato paste
1/3 cups heavy cream
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
2 dashes of Tabasco sauce
2-tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley

To make the grits bring 3 1/2 cups water to a boil and stir in the grits. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and cool for 15 to 20 minutes, until the grits are tender and the liquid has been absorbed. Remove from the heat, add salt to taste, add the cheese and butter and stir until melted. Keep warm. To prepare the shrimp: Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat and sauté’ the onion, bell pepper, and garlic until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes and juice and thyme and bring to a simmer. Cook for 2 or 3 minutes. Sprinkle with flour and stir well. Add the shrimp and stir constantly until they began to turn pink, about 2 minutes. Add ½ cup stock and cook for 2 to 3 minutes more. Add the tomato paste and stir until blended. Add the cream, Worcestershire, and Tabasco, and more stock if needed to make a spoonable sauce that generously coats the shrimp. Heat thoroughly, being careful not to let it come to a boil. Taste for salt and adjust if necessary. Place a portion of grits in the center of each plate and spoon shrimp over or around it. Sprinkle with chopped parsley. Note: To make the shrimp stock: Combine the shrimp shells and 2 cups water and boil until half reduces the liquid. Strain. Thanks Julia!!!!!!!!!!!

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