Shrimp and Tasso Gravy over Creamy White Grits
Serves 6 to 8
2 C Coarse Stone-Ground Quick White Grits (washed)
6 C Water
1 C Chicken Broth
1 C Heavy Cream
¼ C (1/2 Stick) Unsalted Butter
Freshly Ground Pepper
¼ C (1/2 stick) Unsalted Butter
½ C sliced Tasso, Diced (I use Country Ham)
½ C All-Purpose Flour
4 C Chicken Broth
1 T Old Bay Seasoning
1 t Lawry’s Seasoned Salt
2 Pounds Shrimp, Peeled and De-veined
Wash the grits by putting them in a colander and running cold water over them. Bring the water and ½ teaspoon salt to a boil in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Slowly pour in the grits, stirring constantly. When the grits start boiling, add the broth. Decrease the heat to low and stir constantly so the grits do not settle to the bottom. In about 5 minutes, the grits will plump up and become a thick mass. Continue to cook the grits for 20 to 25 minutes, stirring frequently. The grits should have absorbed all of the liquid and become soft.
Stir in the heavy cream and cook for another 10 minutes, until the grits are thick, like oatmeal. Add butter and cook until melted. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a plate and set aside.
To blanch the shrimp, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Drop the shrimp in and reduce to a simmer. Cook the shrimp in simmering water for 3 to 5 minutes, until pink. Drain well. (My note: I always immerse shrimp in a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process. It keeps the shrimp crisp instead of mushy)
To make the gravy, melt the butter in a medium saucepan over low heat. Add the tasso. Sauté for 1 minute, until the meat is slightly browned. Make a roux by adding the flour and stirring until well combined. Add the chicken broth to the roux, stirring vigorously. Keep stirring constantly until the broth begins to thicken. Add Old Bay Seasoning and Lawry’s Seasoned Salt. Drop the shrimp into the hot gravy. Heat a few more minutes. Then add the gravy on top of the grits and serve. Ms. Mason suggested dropping a little yellow food coloring in the gravy to make it more lively.