The last time Nathan and I made shrimp and grits was the day before I broke up with him. He always jokes that he ended up crying into the container of leftovers while pondering that it was the last of our culinary creations that he would ever eat. You might not believe it given our current state of marital bliss but it’s true…early in our relationship I broke up with Nathan for a week that ended up being THE most miserable week of my life…
Given the circumstances of our last shrimp and grits dinner, we decided it was time to make new and better memories that don’t involve heartbreak and tears. We made some improvements from our last recipe, including the addition of spinach, tomatoes, and extra spice, and we thought it was perfect. And this time, neither of us will be crying into the leftovers….we hope.
Most Rieslings are too sweet for my taste so I was curious as to whether I would like a Dry Riesling better. This wine was still a bit too sweet when I tried it without food but it was great when paired with the intense spice of our meal. It was mildly acidic with notes of peach and lime that complimented the citrus in the shrimp sauce. Overall it provided a refreshing contrast to the shrimp and grits.
What better beer to have with a classic Louisiana dish than this classic beer brewed in New Orleans? Abita knew what they were doing when they recommended this brew for spicy dishes. The smooth malt flavor rinsed the old bay and cayenne pepper really well. In most circumstances this beer would have been just a little TOO malty for my taste but for a dish like this, malt is what you want.
Spicy Shrimp and Grits (4 Servings)
3 cups water
1 cup chicken stock
Kosher salt and pepper
1 cup stone ground grits
3 Tbs. butter
2 cups shredded sharp white cheddar cheese
1 tbs. olive oil
¼ cup thinly sliced onion
¼ cup green onion (white part only)
1 lb. shrimp, peeled and deveined
¼ cup amber beer
4 tsp. lemon juice
¼ tsp. cayenne pepper*
1 tsp. Texas Pete
1 tsp. horseradish
1 tsp. Old Bay
2 tbs. chopped parsley
3 cloves of garlic, minced
½ cup halved cherry tomatoes
1 cup fresh spinach
Bring water and chicken stock to a boil. Add ½ tsp. salt and pepper (to taste.) Slowly stir in grits cook, covered, over very low heat until water is absorbed, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in butter and cheese.
Cook onion and green onion in olive oil until onions are translucent. Add shrimp and beer and cook until the shrimp turn pink and the beer has reduced. Stir in lemon juice, cayenne pepper, Texas Pete, horseradish, Old Bay, chopped parsley, garlic, tomatoes and spinach and saute for 3 minutes.
Spoon grits onto plates and top with shrimp mixture.
*This recipe is a little spicy! If you don’t like so much heat in your shrimp and grits reduce the amounts of cayenne and Texas Pete.