RECIPE: CLASSIC SOUTHERN GULF SHRIMP AND GRITS

CLASSIC SOUTHERN SHRIMP AND GRITS

Serves 4

Classic Southern Shrimp and Grits Martie Duncan

INGREDIENTS

For the Grits

3 cups 2% milk

1 cup water

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1 cup stone-ground grits

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus more for garnish

 For the Shrimp

24 large fresh Gulf shrimp, peeled and deveined with the tails left on, save the shells to create a shrimp stock

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 medium onion, diced

3 cloves garlic, finely minced

One 28-ounce can whole tomatoes, coarsely chopped, juice reserved

3 bay leaves

1 pinch ground cayenne pepper or to taste

Juice from 1/2 lemon

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley, plus more for garnish

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

 Directions:

For the grits: In a medium saucepan, bring the water and milk for the grits to a gentle boil. Whisk in the grits. Add the salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce to simmer and whisk the grits often to prevent sticking. Cook for 20-30 minutes or until the grits are soft and to a consistency you like. When the grits have thickened, stir in the cheese and butter and put a lid on the pot.

For the Shrimp: Add all the shrimp peel to a pot and cover with cool water. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium. Cook until the liquid is reduced by half. Allow to cool. Strain the shells and reserve the stock.

Towards the end of the cooking time for the grits, in a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium high heat.

Add the onions and cook until soft and translucent, 2 to 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the garlic and cook about a minute.

Stir in the tomatoes with half their juice; add the bay leaves and cayenne and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until the mixture is reduced and slightly thickened, about 10 minutes.

Return the heat under the tomatoes to medium high and add1/2 cup of the reserved shrimp stock and a bit more of the tomato juice, if desired. Once it is bubbling, add the shrimp and cook until the shrimp are pink and firm, approximately 5-6 minutes.

Remove the shrimp to a plate. Stir in the lemon juice into sauce. Taste and adjust for seasoning with salt and pepper. Add the final tablespoon butter and stir. Remove from heat and add the parsley. Return the shrimp to the sauce.

To serve, place a heaping spoonful of grits on each plate. Top with the shrimp and sauce. Garnish with additional Parmigiano-Reggiano and chopped parsley. Serve immediately.

COMFORT FOOD RECIPE: A CLASSIC IRISH BEEF STEW

On St. Patrick’s Day, we’re all Irish… and during the cold winter months, we’re all usually craving food that is warm, comforting, and hearty and Irish Beef Stew recipe has all of those characteristics. It really could not be easier to make and it is also very affordable so it is the perfect recipe for a St. Paddy’s Day (or any) celebration.

Note: Add the carrots and potatoes later in the process so they don’t disintegrate totally during cooking but you do want the potatoes to help thicken the stew as it cooks. For this reason, I add a few potatoes when I add the carrots and reserve the rest for the final 20 minutes of cooking time so they have some texture left.

IRISH BEEF STEW

INGREDIENTS

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons kosher salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

3 tablespoons olive oil

2 1/2 -3 pounds boneless chuck, cut into 2” cubes (you can use stew meat or ask the butcher to cut into cubes for you)

1 tablespoon garlic, minced

1 white onion, diced small

2 cups red wine

2 cups beef broth plus a bit more, depending on how thick you like your stew

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

2 whole cloves

1 bay leaf

3 sprigs fresh thyme

3 sprigs fresh Italian parsley plus more for garnish

6 large carrots, peeled and cut into 2" pieces

4-5 Russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 2" cubes 

DIRECTIONS:

Tie the parsley and the thyme together in a bundle using kitchen twine to make it easy to remove. Set aside.

Add the flour, salt, pepper to a large zip top bag. Shake to combine. Add the meat to the bag and shake to coat all of the pieces evenly.

Add the olive oil to a Dutch oven and place over medium high heat. Once the oil is hot, add the contents of the bag to the pan and brown, turning the meat frequently to cook on all sides, about 10 minutes.

Add the onion and cook for approximately 3 minutes, stirring often. Once softened slightly, add the garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes more.

Deglaze the pan using the red wine, scraping up the browned bits of flour from the pan as you go. Stir until you reach a smooth consistency. Once you do, add the beef broth, Worcestershire sauce, clove, thyme, and parsley.

Bring to a simmer.

Reduce the heat to medium-low. Check after 40 minutes. Stir gently and determine if you need to add more liquid. Add the carrots and a few potatoes. Cover and continue cooking.

After one hour, check again and add the remaining potatoes. You may need to add a bit more broth. Check the seasoning now and determine if you need more salt or pepper. Cook for an additional 20-30 minutes or until the carrots are fork tender.

When done, remove the cloves, thyme, parsley, and bay leaf. Serve over buttered wide egg noodles or with a toasted slice of crusty bread. Garnish with a bit of chopped parsley.

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RECIPE: MAKE AN EVERYTHING IN THE FRIDGE FRITTATA

When I was growing up, my mom would often make breakfast for Sunday supper. It is something I like to do even now. Another thing I like to do is to find a way to clean out some of the odds and ends in the fridge so they don't go to waste. This recipe accomplishes both of those things... plus it is super simple! Why not look around your fridge, see what you have, and make a frittata for supper tonight? It is also a perfect dish for brunch or lunch- just add a salad.

The basics for this dish are eggs, potatoes, and vegetables... any kind. I always throw leftover potatoes into the frittata but if you don't have leftovers, dice the potatoes, toss them with olive oil, salt and pepper and then roast them a bit to soften them before you add them to the eggs. You can toss in asparagus, zucchini, squash, mushrooms, or any other vegetable you happen to have around.

How to Make a Frittata with Ingredients in Your Fridge

EVERYTHING IN THE FRIDGE FRITTATA

INGREDIENTS

6-7 eggs (the number of eggs depends on the size of your skillet. I have a large 10" cast iron skillet so it requires more eggs)

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 cup onion, diced small

1/2 cup red bell pepper, diced

1/2 cup green bell pepper, diced

1 medium potato, diced (use a pre-cooked potato or cook it before adding)

1 tomato diced or cherry tomatoes, halved

1/2 cup cheese + more for the top--use any kind of cheese, grated or crumbled (I often use several different kinds to use up the little bits left in the fridge)

Bacon, pancetta, or sausage, cooked

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped fine

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to broil.

Beat the eggs until frothy. Set aside. Heat up the oil over medium-high heat in a cast iron or oven-proof skillet. Add the onion, veggies, and sauté until golden brown. Add the potatoes, if you've roasted them or had leftovers. Add the eggs. Swirl the eggs around the pan to make sure they evenly cover the other ingredients.

As the edges start to cook, loosen them with a spatula or butter knife to disperse the liquid in the center. After the eggs start to firm, put the pan into the oven and broil 3 minutes or so until the eggs are almost completely set. Remove the frittata and add a bit of cheese on the top, if you like... and who doesn't... return to the oven until it is golden brown, about 1 minute or less.

Remove and slice into wedges. Garnish with bacon crumbles, scallion, or anything else you've used in your frittata.

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