Southern Shrimp & Grits Casserole

shrimp-with-gritsThis recipe was in the latest Southern Living Magazine and is a real keeper. Of course I tweaked it a bit (lightened it up a little) but in general I followed the recipe pretty closely. It’s pretty rich but so delicious. In fact I went in and grabbed a little spoonful of it from the dish in the fridge and it was good – even cold from the fridge! Like I said – it’s a keeper.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and grease a 9 x 12 baking pan.

Ingredients for Grits

4 cups whole milk
1 cup uncooked quick-cooking grits
1/4 cup butter
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder (or one clove garlic, crushed)
1 large egg, lightly beaten
2 cups grated cheddar cheese

Heat milk in a large saucepan until just starting to boil. Add grits, butter and seasonings and reduce heat to medium. Cook for 5-7 minutes stirring constantly, until grits are softened and mixture has thickened. Take off heat and add beaten egg and cheese, stirring in well. Pour mixture into prepared baking pan, smoothing as needed and then cover and bake 35-40 minutes. Cook longer if you want the edges browned a bit.

Ingredients for Shrimp Sauce

1 cup chopped bacon, or turkey bacon (add 3 tbsp olive oil if using turkey bacon)
1 onion, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 Tbsp chopped fresh garlic
1/2 cup flour
1 lb. peeled, deveined shrimp
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 1/4 cup chicken broth
1 1/2 tsp dried parsley (or 1 Tbsp fresh chopped parsley)
1 heaping teaspoon dried thyme, or 2 tsp fresh thyme leaves
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup sliced green onions

In a large saucepan, saute bacon until crisp and remove. Pour out all but 3 Tbsp of bacon drippings or oil. Add onions and peppers and cook for 3-4 minutes stirring frequently. Have all the rest of your ingredients ready, because you will be stirring constantly from here on out.

Add garlic and cook another 30 seconds, then add flour and cook for 1 minute. Add shrimp and cook for 3 minutes. Add wine and cook for 2 minutes, then add broth and seasonings. Cook a couple minutes more until warmed through.

Spoon the shrimp mixture over the grits, then sprinkle with reserved bacon and green onions.  Serve warm.

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