When DH and I decided to have friends over for a holiday brunch today, I knew I wanted to have Shrimp and Grits with Andouille and Tasso for the main course, but had to give some thought to the rest of the meal. We put out a variety of tidbits we had on hand – sausage balls, sausage pinwheels, cheese straws and party mix – with Brandy Milk Punch and Mimosas. For the first course, I served a Green Salad with Clementines, Dried Cranberries and Spicy Pecans. The salad is a really light and flavorful beginning to brunch or almost any other holiday meal.
For the Shrimp and Grits with Andouille and Tasso, I doubled this Tyler Florence recipe and made a few changes. These are my directions for doing most of the work and cooking ahead of time, and finishing the dish just before serving.
Shrimp and Grits with Andouille and Tasso
For the Grits:
- 5 cups milk
- 4-5 cups chicken broth, divided
- 2 cups stone ground grits
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 2 teaspoons salt
- Pepper to taste
For the Shrimp:
- 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 medium white onion, minced
- 2 bunches green onions, tops only, minced
- 2 tablespoons garlic, minced
- 1 3/4 pounds andouille, diced
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 5-7 cups chicken stock, divided
- 4-6 bay leaves
- 1/4 cup tasso, diced
- 4 pounds large shrimp, peeled and deveined, tails on
- Cayenne pepper, to taste
- Kosher salt, to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper , to taste
- 4 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 8 green onions, sliced
- Place a 3-quart pot over medium-high heat. Add the milk and 4 cups chicken broth. Slowly whisk in the grits. Add the salt , pepper and butter. When the grits begin to bubble, turn the heat down to medium low and simmer, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon.
- Simmer for 30 to 40 minutes, adding the additional chicken broth as needed. Cook until the mixture is smooth and thick.
- Place a dutch oven over medium heat and coat with the olive oil. Add the onions and garlic; saute for 5-10 minutes until the vegetables begin to soften and turn golden.
- Add the andouille and cook, stirring, until there is a fair amount of fat in the pan and the sausage is brown.
- Sprinkle in the flour and stir with a wooden spoon to create a blond roux. Slowly pour in the chicken stock and continue to stir to avoid lumps.
- Toss in the bay leaves, tasso, and salt and pepper to taste.
- Simmer for about 15 minutes. Turn off the heat and cover until about 10 minutes before you want to serve.
- When you are ready to serve, add the additional chicken broth and bring the mixture to a simmer, then add the shrimp.
- Poach the shrimp in the stock for 4 to 5 minutes, until they are firm and pink and the gravy is smooth and thick.
- Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Spoon the grits into a serving bowl. Top with the shrimp mixture, and garnish with the parsley and green onions.
Yield: 10-12 servings
I served the Shrimp and Grits with Andouille and Tasso with Mary B’s Tea Biscuits, which all my guests assumed I’d made, I referred them to my some blog posts from about a year ago in which I documented my inability to make decent biscuits, and described exactly where in the Harris Teeter frozen foods section they could find this Southern delicacy.
For an easy dessert, I modified the recipe for Crunchy Pecan Pie Bites to make Crunchy Chocolate Pecan Pie Bites – also deserving of a blog post of its own. Great meal, great company, great afternoon. No reason not to do this more often!