Recipe for a Recipe: Channeling the Magic of Shrimp and Grits

Recipe for a Recipe: Channeling the Magic of Shrimp and Grits

Creamy grains + boldly flavored protein, vegetables, and sauce

Understanding recipes in terms of formulas and why they work will help you get the most bang out of your buck when it comes to your capsule kitchen, allowing you to mix and match what you have in your capsule, rather than make you feel like you need to shop for a specific recipe. This basic recipe formula brings us classics like Shrimp and Grits, Beef Ragu with Polenta, and a Birmingham favorite: Saw’s BBQ Pork N’Greens over Grits.

Why It Works

Addictively delicious dishes combine a variety of flavors and textures to excite the palate and create balance and harmony in the dish. Here we have comforting, creamy grains serving as a backdrop to the powerful flavor combos of sweet and tangy sauces complimenting flavorful protein and veggies. The acidity in the sauce acts as a bright counter balance to the creaminess and the combo is even more dangerous when it features salty, smoky meat and veggies or extra toppings that add a crunchy element.

Put It Together

Choose your grain:  grits, polenta, or risotto

Using cream and/or adding cheese after the grains are cooked puts it over the top—garlic cheese grits, creamy polenta, parmesan risotto—these  are classics for a reason. Although if you need to avoid dairy (like I did while breastfeeding) these grains will still work, and even taste creamy, because of the way they are cooked.

Choose your meat:  slow-cooked or smoked pulled pork, Italian sausage, chicken sausage, smoked sausage, slow-cooked or braised beef, slow-cooked or braised short ribs, shrimp and andouille sausage or bacon.

 Proteins that work best are full of flavor. I don’t really imagine poultry working here because it just wouldn’t punch enough and I feel like the texture combination would be off. Shrimp adds a great sweet element but really sings when you add salty, smoky bacon, ham, or sausage. If you are looking for a meat-free option, I could really see mushrooms working as a great stand in.

Choose your veg:  peppers and onions, sautéed greens (kale, collards, spinach, swiss chard), lightly sautéed squash or zucchini

You have a lot of flexibility here. I’m struggling to think of a vegetable that really wouldn’t work. Go with what you have on hand.

Choose your flavor profile:  barbecue; Cajun seasoned; garlic & lemon; Italian tomato; pesto; balsamic

You want to end up with a nice sauce to spoon over the grits. Flavors that balance best with the creamy grains are acidic, salty, slightly sweet, and can have plenty of heat.

Extra Flavor Bombs:  crispy onions, crispy bacon, crumbled feta or goat cheese, hot sauce, Sriracha, fresh herbs, squeeze of lemon or lime juice

Take your dish over the top by sprinkling something awesome over the finished dish.


Favorite Recipes from around the net that fit this formula:
I promise to only post tested favorites!

Tomato and Sausage Risotto from Smitten Kitchen

Tyler Florence’s Ultimate Shrimp and Grits

Recipe Tin Eats Slow Cooked Shredded Beef Ragu Pasta (I serve this with polenta too)


Original Recipe (coming tomorrow!)

Smoked Chicken Sausage with Peppers, Onions, and Tomatoes over Garlic Cheese Grits

Channeling the Magic of Shrimp + Grits: Adapted Recipe

Channeling the Magic of Shrimp + Grits: Adapted Recipe

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