Recipe by: Leigh Ann S. of Corvallis, her sister’s mother-in-law, and online instructions how-to-cook shrimp
MONEY SAVED: About $3 — and you won’t waste your organic kale!
This dish is inspired by my Southern roots. I grew up in Alabama, where grits are a staple. A bowl of buttery, creamy, cheesy grits will power you through anything! As my mama says, “it’ll stick to your ribs.”
Polenta is very similar to grits in texture, and for a local organic option, we like Bob’s Red Mill Polenta from the First Alternative Co-op. Polenta needs to cook at least 45 minutes to achieve that rich creaminess. Regular instant grits can make this a quick 15-minute meal.
For this dish, we use up all the kale, chard, and other greens that we haven’t managed to eat yet.
I was inspired by the shrimp, sausage, greens, and grits dish served at the tragically-short-lived Corvallis restaurant, Hard Times Hideaway. Those were some dang good grits, cooked with a little cream!
You can stick with the simple cheese grits and greens, or you can top with a protein of your choice. Our favorites are veggie soy sausage (like Gimme Lean or Beyond Sausage) or great northern beans, or Cajun-style shrimp. Pork sausage or bacon would be delicious also.
For vegans, I recommend using a nut butter and vegan cheese option — because no one wants to eat grits without butter and cheese!
RECIPE (leftovers clearly identified):
- Make your grits/polenta.
For grits, follow the directions on the box but cover them for most of the cooking time like my sister’s mother-in-law does because it makes the grits creamier. For polenta, add 1 cup of polenta to 5 cups of boiling water and stir continually for several minutes. Turn heat to low and stir every 10 minutes or less to keep from sticking or getting lumpy. Cook for at least 45 minutes. Add butter, salt, and pepper to taste, taking care to not over-salt if you are salting your greens too.
- While your grits are cooking, chop onion and garlic and saute in a skillet. Dig in the back of your fridge for the pile of *greens* that needs to be eaten (they don’t have to be pretty). Wash and chop greens, add to the skillet, sprinkle with soy sauce or liquid aminos, then cover to cook until soft. Stir occasionally.
- Cook your protein. For the pictured dish, I used northern beans and shrimp. Just heat those beans in a pot, honey. For the shrimp, place a baking sheet under the oven broiler and turn to high. Rinse about 25 frozen pre-cooked shrimp in cold water.
- Make a spice mix with 0.75 tsp kosher salt, 0.5 tsp of garlic powder, 0.5 tsp paprika, and 0.25 tsp *each* of black pepper, onion powder, dried thyme, dried oregano, and cayenne pepper.
- Add shrimp to spice mix and stir until shrimp are evenly coated. Place shrimp on hot-as-heck baking sheet and broil for 5 minutes.
- Grate a pile of sharp cheddar cheese and a bit of pecorino romano.
- Assemble the dish: start with a pile of grits, add cheddar cheese, top with braised greens, then a sprinkle of pecorino romano. Top with your choice of protein.
Eat it for breakfast, lunch, or supper. Enjoy!