Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Warm Fuzzies (Recipe: Shrimp & Andouille Over Jalapeno Grit Cakes)

I've been away from blogging for a few weeks and I am using these two little guys (below) to aid in your forgiveness.  The puppy picture is one of the first pics I took with my new camera.  The evening light hit my parent's dog's face perfectly so I grabbed my camera and took a shot.  I love it.  See his terrible under bite?  We have no idea how he actually eats his food but obviously he manages.
T-Dawg in the evening light
Now the sleeping little guy below is my cat.  He will be fifteen, yes 1-5, next month.  He sleeps his days away only to crawl out of his hiding place once the Baking Tot has been put to bed.  Baking Tot is too hyper for this poor old cat.  He loves to snuggle, eats salad greens and loves summer cantaloupe.
Sleeping Kidders dreaming away on my favorite quilt (a wedding gift rumored to be made by Mitt Romney's cousin)
Alright, on to the food.  We love Cajun food in this house and I cook it often.  I've eyed this Central Market recipe for years....years!  My local grocer had wild caught gulf shrimp on sale and I took full advantage of the opportunity.  I'm glad I did, they were sweet and delicious.  The andouille sausage was the flavor maker in this recipe lending its spice and smoke to the sauce and shrimp.

I followed the recipe exact but know now what I'll tweak next time.  The sauce.  Rather than a cornstarch base sauce (which I never had been a fan of) I'll use my standard bechamel.  The grit cakes were crunchy on the outside and creamy on the inside with a freshness and heat from the jalapenos; good enough to sneak the leftovers from the fridge and eat them cold (so guilty).

Shrimp & Andouille with Jalapeno Grit Cakes
Central Market Cooks
serves 8

Jalapeno Grit Cakes
4 cups water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup uncooked quick-cooking grits
3 tablespoons minced jalapeno chiles
1/4 teaspoon white pepper

Shrimp and Andouille
2 tablespoons butter
2 pounds uncooked medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 pound andouille sausage, chopped
1 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup cornstarch
3 cups heavy cream
4 ounces freshly grated Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste
chopped scallions
  1. Grit Cakes:  bring water and salt to a boil in a medium saucepan.  Stir in grits gradually.  Reduce the heat to low and simmer covered, for 8 minutes or until grits are tender and most of the liquid is absorbed, stir occasionally.  Simmer, uncovered, until the liquid is absorbed.  Remove fro heat and stir in the chiles & pepper.  Let stand for 30 minutes or until cool but not yet set, stirring occasionally.
  2. Spoon grits in 16 generous 1/4 cupfuls onto a nonstick baking sheet and pat into 3-inch rounds.  Let stand at room temperature for 1 hour or until firm.  Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes or until heated through.  Remove to a heated plate and keep warm.
  3. Shrimp & Andouille:  heat the butter in a skillet.  Add the shrimp and sausage and saute until the shrimp are opaque.  Remove to a bowl and add the chicken broth to the skillet, stirring to scrape up any browned bits.
  4. Blend the cornstarch and cream in a bowl.  Stir into the broth mixture and cook until slightly thickened, stirring constantly.  Add cheese and cook until the cheese melts and the sauce thickens, stirring constantly.  Return the shrimp and sausage to the skillet.  Cook until heated through, stirring constantly.  Season with salt and pepper.
  5. Arrange 2 grit cakes on each of 8 serving plates.  Spoon the shrimp mixture over the cakes and sprinkle with chopped scallions.

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