Wednesday, February 10, 2010

craving spring, the south, and shrimp & grits

The first (perhaps I have blocked all the others out?) snow storm of the winter is here. Well the first major, snow down the side of your boots, shovels scraping the sidewalk, I don't wanna leave my apartment, snow storm. I'll admit (begrudgingly) that it's actually kind of beautiful. Winter wonderland aside, what I really want right now is home. The South.

As if my natural inborn southern longing wasn't enough, with the saints winning the super bowl, and taunting phone calls from a friend eating beignets and fried oysters in New Orleans, I have been pushed over the edge. I need warmth. Or at least some remoulade sauce.

I settled for shrimp and grits. I take that back, I indulged in shrimp and grits. The creaminess, oh the creaminess. Non-southerners seem to have their doubts about shrimp and grits. It does seem odd: breakfast grains cooked with cream, topped with tomatoes and shrimp. If you have any doubt to the deliciousness of this dish, just trust me. I trudged through the afore mentioned blizzard to the grocery store to get the ingredients for this. 60 minutes, mild frostbite, and a few sour words for the CTA's bus reduction later, I was totally glad I did.

But seriously. This is so good. Stick to your ribs, make you think you're in New Orleans good. Make it tonight, pretend you're not cold, and thank me tomorrow.

Shrimp & Grits with Pancetta
adapted from Chris Hastings via Bon Appetit November 2000

makes a filling meal for 4, or half in for yourself + leftovers

-4`1/2 cups chicken broth
-3/4 cups half and half 
-5 Tbs butter
-1 garlic clove, minced
-1 cup corn grits

-3 Tbs butter
1/3 cup finely chopped shallots
-1 1/2 pounds deveined and clean shrimp
-2 garlic cloves, minced
-1/2 cup dry white wine
1 14 1/2 ounce can of diced tomatoes
-2/3 cup pancetta, or diced bacon/prosciutto
-1/2 cup chopped parsley

for the grits:

Combine chicken broth, half and half, butter and garlic in large saucepan and bring to boil. Gradually whisk in grits. Return to boil while whisking. Turn heat on low and continue to simmer uncovered until grits are thick, stirring often, about 15 minutes.

for the shrimp:

Melt butter in large skillet over medium high heat. Saute shallots and garlic until tender, about 4 minutes. Add pancetta, saute another minute. Add wine to skillet and boil until reduces to glaze, about 5 minutes. Add shrimp, cook until no longer translucent, then add tomatoes and cook through until all is warm and tomatoes have slightly reduced, about 3 minutes. Stir in chopped parsley. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Spoon grits into a shallow bowl, topping with shrimp mixture. Garnish with remaining bits of parsley. Enjoy. 


  1. Did you use the pancetta from TJ's? I got real pancetta from a ethnic deli once, and it was actually pretty bad, maybe it was just it was sliced so goddamn thin.

    Love this, love you

  2. yep, the diced TJs pancetta you left at my house

    :) :)