Coastal and Southern ingredients redefine classic holiday side
Growing up slightly north of the South, I didn’t encounter grits until I attended college here in Texas. Moving my tray down the cafeteria line, I gave that pan of grits serious side eye each morning and politely declined the scoop I was offered. It wasn’t until I discovered shrimp and grits that I realized what I had been missing. Fast-forward 20 years, and I’ve eaten my weight in that iconic dish a few times over. It remains one of my go-to comfort foods.
When I saw this recipe for shrimp and grits dressing, I was wary. Having tried a few versions over the years, I wasn’t ready to be wowed, but this particular spin on the classic was spectacular.
Minimal prep means this recipe comes together in a pinch, making it perfect for holiday entertaining at home or potluck parties. This dish works well as a seasonal dinner side, is a solid year-round brunch staple and has me considering kicking my standard breakfast casserole recipe to the curb.
Shrimp and Grits Dressing
1 pound peeled and deveined medium-size raw shrimp
3 cups chicken stock
1 teaspoon salt
1⁄2 teaspoon ground red pepper
1 cup uncooked regular grits
1⁄3 cup butter
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 cup fine, dry breadcrumbs
1 cup chopped green onions
1⁄2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
4 pieces of bacon, cooked and crumbled
5 tablespoons Italian parsley, minced
Preheat oven to 325 F. Lightly grease a 11-by-7-inch baking dish or 8 to 10 individual ramekins.
Add broth, salt and pepper to a large saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Whisk in grits and return to a boil. Reduce heat to low and add butter. Stir mixture, cover and simmer. Continue cooking for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Once liquid is absorbed, remove pan from heat and set aside.
Combine eggs and next 7 ingredients (Old Bay Seasoning through bacon) in a large bowl. Carefully pour in about 1/3 of hot grits mixture stirring constantly. Add remaining grits to egg mixture stirring to combine. Fold in shrimp. Pour grits mixture into prepared pan.
Bake at 325 F for 55 minutes to 1 hour or until mixture is set. If baking dressing in individual ramekins, cook for 20 to 25 minutes, depending on the size of the ramekins. Let stand 10 minutes. Sprinkle with parsley and serve.
Alicia Cahill is owner of The Kitchen Chick, 528 23rd St. in Galveston.