Scott and Nicole had this wonderful restaurant, The Chelsea, cater their wedding reception. While caught moaning over the shrimp and grits that I was trying to inhale gracefully, Scott introduced me to the owner of The Chelsea, Chris Hoveland. Of course I had to pick his brain regarding the ingredients of his fantastic creation. Chris was gracious enough to indulge me with the makings of the dish along with telling me that this is one of the most popular dishes at the restaurant. Of course, “popular” is actually and understatement…it’s insanely popular, as it also was at the reception.
For those of you not familiar with grits, you can think of grits as a runnier version of polenta. You know, that bougie yellow stuff they serve at Italian restaurants for $35 dollars a plate when it’s smothered with tomato sauce and and some grated parmesan cheese. Grits and polenta both share the same basic ingredient: stone ground corn grits.
This version of the shrimp and grits is based on the recipe from Chris Hoveland and his restaurant, The Chelsea. I’ve tweaked the recipe a little bit.
- 1 1/4 Cups Stone Ground Corn Grits
- 46 Ounces Chicken Broth
- 1/2 Cup Half and Half
- 3/4 Cup Whole Milk
- 2 Tablespoons Canola Oil
- Pinch of Kosher Salt
- 1 Pound Peeled and De-Veined Shrimp
- 1 Pound Smoked Sausage (like Hillshire Farms) – sliced, diagonally, into 1/8″ thick pieces
- 1 8 Ounce Package of Mushrooms – sliced
- 1 Bunch Green Onions (7-8 onions) – chopped, including green parts
- 1/3 Cup Chopped Tomatoes
- 1/3 Cup Chopped Italian Parsley
- 1/2 Cup Worcesteshire Sauce
- 1/4 Cup Red Hot Sauce (Cayenne Pepper Sauce)
- Shredded Monterey Jack Cheese (Optional)
In a small saucepan, over medium heat reduce Worcesteshire Sauce to 1/4 cup. Once reduced, remove from heat and let cool. Once cool, add Red Hot Sauce and stir to combine.
In a large saucepan, over medium heat, bring chicken stock to a gentle boil. Stir in grits. Cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. (The grits will stick to the bottom of the pan a bit, so don’t panic.) Lower the heat to medium low and add whole milk and half & half to grit mixture and stir to combine. Cook for an additional 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove the pan from heat and set aside.
In a large skillet, add 2 tablespoons of canola oil until it shimmers. Add the sliced sausage and stir frequently to brown edges, then add sliced mushrooms. (The mushrooms will release a lot of their moisture.) Cook sausage and mushrooms until liquid is almost gone. Add chopped tomatoes and green onions. Sprinkle with a pinch of kosher salt to help remove liquid from tomatoes and green onions and stir to combine. Add shrimp and cook for 3-4 minutes and stir. Next pour in the Worcesteshire/Red Hot sauce. Stir to thoroughly incorporate sauce into the ingredients and cook for another 3-4 minutes. Remove skillet from heat and stir in chopped parsley.
Serve shrimp and sausage mixture over grits. Top grits with shredded monterey jack cheese if desired.
**The grits, by themselves, make for a warm and filling breakfast (which is how they are traditionally served). But never ever put sugar or pour syrup on them. The great spirits of the South will find you and torment you for desecrating the sanctity of the grits. My husband (Craig) is still trying to live that one down.