½ stick unsalted butter
1 small yellow onion or shallot, minced
4 bay leaves, fresh if available
¼ cup fresh thyme leaves chopped
1 cup shiitake mushrooms chopped finely
2 tablespoons fresh thyme, picked and chopped
Heavy cream (as preferred)
Water, as needed
4 ounces yellow corn grits
1 cup smoked pork sausage, diced
Extra-virgin olive oil, as needed
1 cup medium onion, diced
1 cup celery, diced
1 cup green and red bell peppers, diced
½ tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped
1 tablespoon freshly minced garlic
1 tablespoon store bought creole seasoning blend
1 cup ripe tomatoes, diced
½ cup flat leaf parsley, chopped finely
12 fresh extra-large shrimp, cleaned
Kosher salt and black pepper to taste
- To make the grits, melt butter in a heavy bottomed four-quart saucepan. Add onions (or shallots), two bay leaves, half of the fresh thyme, and mushrooms, and sauté until butter browns and ingredients exude a nutty aroma. Add heavy cream and water. Season this broth very well. Once it begins to simmer, whisk in the grits slowly, stirring constantly until the mixture starts to thicken. Add more cream and water if the grits get too thick before being fully cooked. The process takes about an hour including resting the grits.
- Place a large sauté pan over medium heat, sauté the sausage in some extra virgin olive oil. Add onions, celery and bell peppers and sauté until soft and slightly caramelized.
- Add remaining fresh thyme, rosemary and minced garlic. Stir briefly for about a minute being careful to not burn the garlic.
- Next add the creole blend of spices and two remaining bay leaves. Stir for a few seconds. Add tomatoes and some water. Let the sauce simmer for about 30 minutes. Finish with chopped fresh flat leaf parsley.
- In a saucepan, sauté shrimp for about 30 seconds. Add as much of the creole sauce as you wish as well as some heavy cream. Simmer gently until shrimp are just cooked, and finish with fresh parsley.
- Serve over grit with a wedge of lemon.
- From Chef Hari Pulapaka of Cress Restaurant in DeLand, Florida