So today is “Mardi Gras,” which means great Tuesday in French, in the south they like to call it Fat Tuesday. On the surface Mardi Gras looks like a huge party about liveliness, vibrancy, bright colors and celebrating and well…it kinda is! In case you do not know the point of Mardi Gras here is a quick rundown. Mardi Gras is the celebration that marks the beginning of the Lenten period, so in preparation of giving up all of the things they love, people party hearty, live in excess and have no regrets.
In keeping with the Mardi Gras spirit, I have a recipe for you that definitely calls upon the spirit, southern comfort food, spiciness and flavor of the South and Mardi but without all the excess…calories that is. Follow the steps below to make a delicious, flavor packed meal that is easy to make and filled with nutrients.
Shrimp and Cheese Grits
1 Tbsp olive oil (or canola oil)
1 cup diced, cooked turkey kielbasa
4 scallions, whites and greens separated
1 garlic clove, minced (additional if desired)
8oz mushrooms (button, cremini, or shiitake) stems removed, sliced
1 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined
½ cup low sodium chicken broth
½ tsp cayenne pepper
½ cup grits (you can also use quick grits, less texture and depth but faster preparation)
¼ cup shredded cheddar cheese
1) If using grits (not quick grits) begin preparing the grits about twenty minutes before you begin to cook the kielbasa and shrimp. Follow instructions on the packaging. When they are thick and creamy add the cheese and season with salt and pepper.
2) Heat the oil in a large cast-iron skillet or sauté pan over medium-high heat until the oil is lightly smoking. Add the kielbasa, cook for a few minutes until lightly browned. Add the scallion whites, garlic and mushrooms. Cook until the mushrooms are lightly browned, about 3 to 4 minutes.
3) Add the shrimp and continue cooking until the shrimp are just pink and firm to the touch. Stir in the broth and cook for another 3 minutes, until cooked all the way through. Season with the salt, pepper and cayenne.
3a) If using quick grits, begin preparing the grits while the shrimp are cooking. Cook the grits according to the package. When they are thick and creamy add the cheese and season with salt and pepper.
4) Plate grits, pour kielbasa and shrimp mix over and garnish with scallion greens.
Note: If you do not want to use shrimp in this recipe or just do not have the time to clean shrimp you can substitute grilled chicken instead and still have a great meal full of flavor.
Makes 4 servings