I was born on Capitol Hill in Washington DC. My mom, Izetta, was born in Tennessee and raised in Waterford, Virginia. My dad, Charles Irving, was born in a small town outside of Leesburg, Virginia. Most of my aunts and uncles remained in Virginia. We would drive to the country every Sunday and had wonderful Sunday dinners with relatives. My mom would help cook in their big country kitchens. Nothing says comfort like southern food and. . .good ole' hospitality is truly a southern tradition.
Wednesday, July 12, 2017
DOTTI'S VIRGINIA-STYLE SHRIMP & GRITS
Grits or hominy was one of the first truly American foods. Native Americans ate a mush made of softened corn or maize. When the colonists came ashore in Jamestown, Virginia in 1607, the Native Americans offered them bowls of this boiled corn substance. The Native Americans called it "rockahomine", which was later shortened to "hominy" by the colonists.
Traditional shrimp and grits includes bacon in place of the Virginia ham. Creole, Charleston, and New Orleans style shrimp and grits usually includes andouille sausage and Creole seasoning. This is Virginia style, and my sister's recipe, so it includes Virginia ham.
1 ½cups chicken stock or water
1 ½ cups whole milk ½ t sea salt
1 cup stone ground yellow or white grits (not instant)
1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
2 T unsalted butter
1 lb large shrimp (about 6 per person), peeled and deveined
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 T all-purpose flour
2 T avocado oil
2 T unsalted butter
1 small onion, finely chopped
½ red bell pepper, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup diced Virginia country ham
1 cup chicken stock
Juice of ½ lemon
1 t hot sauce
6 scallions, thinly sliced
Hot sauce, for serving
Lemon wedges, for serving
In a medium saucepan, bring water, milk, and salt to a boil.
Gradually whisk in the grits, reduce heat to the lowest setting, cover and simmer, about 15 to 18 minutes, stirring frequently.
Remove from heat, stir in cheddar cheese and butter.
Cover and keep warm until ready to serve.
While grits are cooking, put shrimp in a shallow bowl, season to taste with salt and pepper and toss with flour to coat. Shake off excess flour.
In a skillet, heat oil over medium heat and cook shrimp, in two batches, until a light golden brown, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a plate.
Return skillet to medium-low heat and add the butter and sauté the onion and bell pepper for 3 or 4 minutes.
Add garlic and sauté another minute.
Return the shrimp with its juices to the skillet, along with the ham, chicken stock, lemon juice and hot sauce.
Cook, stirring frequently, about 2 minutes.
Spoon grits into 4 warm bowls, spoon on the shrimp mixture, top with sliced scallions and serve with extra hot sauce and a wedge of lemon.