Friday, February 6, 2009

Take A Walk On The Wild Side! Spicy Sausage and Shrimp with Creamy Grits

As of late, I’ve been intrigued with regional food dishes. You know, like Manhattan Clam Chowder, Boston Baked Beans, Philadelphia Cheese Steaks, Texas Chili ... that kind of stuff. How did those dishes come to be? Why, for example, do some areas like their food spicy while others prefer sweet or buttery?

Not too long ago, during one of my owl-hour insomnia bouts, I watched some sort of New Orleans cook-off show. Unfortunately, I tuned into the program with literally only a few seconds left, but I committed it to memory, and turned to the internet for instructions. It’s a New Orleans style spicy sausage and shrimp dish served over grits.

I’m really not familiar with New Orleans cuisine, but I’ve heard it boasts some of the finest food around. The cuisine of that area is based on a melting pot of cultures, and I decided that was the perfect place to start my regional culinary education.

First and foremost, let me say this is a spicy recipe, at least the sauce is. I’m talking sinus clearing, soul shaking, and full flavored spice. That said, I should also point out that my taste buds are kind of wimpy when it comes to caliente seasoning, so you may find this to simply be full flavored. I was reaching for tissues.

Despite the flame throwing heat from the sauce (ok, it’s not that bad), I actually found myself wanting to eat more instead of less! Have you ever done that? You know, where you eat something spicy, your mouth is on fire, and for some reason the burn is not a bad thing? It’s almost like the only way to not feel the heat is to keep eating more? I’m keeping my fingers crossed that at least one of you is nodding.

For this recipe there are ways to tone down the heat. Since most of the heat comes from the sauce, serve it on the side (I did). I also thinned out some of the Grilled Onion Blue Cheese Dressing I made yesterday, and used it as a side sauce, too. It was a magnificent match. The sauce that goes with the dish is a fiery buffalo style hot sauce, so it just made good sense to have them together.Isn’t it gorgeous? Don’t for a second be put off by the three components; it’s really easy to make. Here it is:

Spicy Sausage and Shrimp with Creamy Grits

1 tablespoon butter
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion – diced
1 green pepper – diced
3 cloves garlic – minced
½ cup white wine
1 package Cajun Style Andouille Sausage (I used Aidells 12 oz pkg), sliced thin on bias
About 1 lb of 26/30 size shrimp, cooked and deveined
Diced tomatoes – I used about 1 cup of the little grape guys that I halved.
Fresh ground black pepper
1 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning
Couple shakes Montreal Steak Seasoning


½ cup cream
½ cup milk
1 cup water
2 T butter
5 Tablespoons Grits
Sea Salt
Lawrey’s Seasoned Salt

Spicy Sauce

½ cup bottled Buffalo Style hot sauce
1 teaspoon butter
1 teaspoon Lemon Juice
½ cup white wine
1 shallot diced
½ cup cream

In a large high sided skillet or dutch oven, melt the butter into the olive oil over medium high heat. Add the onions, grn pepper, and garlic, and sauté until they start to wilt. Do not brown them. Add the sliced sausage and sauté until just starting to brown. Stir in the tomatoes and seasonings and give a good stir. Fold in the shrimp until heated through and thoroughly coated. Keep warm until ready to serve.

Meanwhile, make the grits. In a non-stick sauce pan, add all of the ingredients except the salts and bring to a boil. Turn heat to low, cover, and let simmer for about 20 minutes. It should be very creamy, but have some body to it. Stir in the salt and seasoned salt.

For the spicy sauce, in a sauté pan, combine the hot sauce, butter, lemon juice, wine, and shallot. Bring to a gentle boil; take off the burner. Stir in the cream. Done.

Here’s how I plated it. I put down a creamy mound of grits, and lovingly ladled the spicy sausage and shrimp mixture over it.See how creamy they are? I spooned some of each sauce onto the side of the plate to dip into. Like I said, to cool this down, I also used some of the Grilled Onion Blue Cheese Dressing from yesterday. If you like to walk on the wild side, pour some of the spicy sauce right on top. Oh, and this is gluten free, all the way, baby!Mmmm .... take a bite. So, do you walk on the wild side?


Marjie said...

Well, Paula, spaghetti is about as wild as I get. I do love shrimp (but am usually not willing to pay the price for enough to feed my starving horde - 5 pounds of shrimp is a heart stopping price). I'm not a fan of buffalo sauce, but when I saw this, I thought you were channeling New Orleans. It's colorful and cheerful looking, and how can you go wrong with shrimp and sausage - 2 of the best foods ever?

Cheryl said...

That looks so stinking good, I have never had shrimp and grits and I have been wanting to try it. I LIVE on the wild side sista!

Lisa said...

Yum! I love spicy.

Jan said...

The spicier the better, as far as I'm concerned, and this looks and sounds wild! Not sure about the grits though, I tried them once and am not keen, and not much gets past me in the food line. :-)

Mediterranean kiwi said...

i love hot foods, and i've heard enough about new orleans cuisine to know that it will suit my taste buds. i espcially like the variety of colours that come onto a plate.

the first time i heard about grits was in a fiction book about bees (an amazing story, but it didnt paint a rosy picture of grits) i don't know what grits is, so i better look it up on the internet...

thanks for your birthday wishes!

The Blonde Duck said...

You've got to do Texan Chicken fried steak! How can you resist?

If I wasn't allergic to shrimp, I'd take a walk on the wild side!

Jan Mader said...

Your post makes me hungry!!!

I'm a children's author and fairly new to blogging. I post creative writing activities on a regular basis to help parents, teachers, and writers.

I would love to help homeschoolers in anyway. I so admire you!

Please come see me!

Dawn said...

Oh geez could I eat this for breakfast right now. Yes, it is gorgeous!!

Grace said...

hello creamy grits! i love regional dishes too, and one of my goals is to go to several of those places and actually eat the dishes for which they're known. :)

Anonymous said...

It does look good. Did I miss a Manhattan Clam Chowder recipe somewhere? I love it and don't have a recipe.

Paula said...

Hi All ... I'm so glad to see your notes. I've gotten msgs that some comments aren't going through ... don't know why. I've had the same problem myself leaving some msgs. Anyway, glad that yours got through! I'm going to try and post this ... keeping my fingers crossed it goes though!

Marjie: I really liked the shrimp and sausage together. It's a tasty combo. I can't imagine all the shrimp shells that would accompany 5 lbs of the wee things!

Cheryl: It was great. I've had grits all my life, and really like them. So ... you're a wild child, eh?

Lisa: The sauce was hot, hot, hot!

Jan: If you like hot, you'd love this. My hubby won't eat grits, he says the name alone says it all! This would be equally good on rice.

Med Kiwi (birthday girl): This was a very colorful dish. Grits are interesting. They are a cousin to polenta, but the texture is more, well, gritty!

Duckie: Mmmm, I'll be looking up recipes for that dish! Sorry to hear you can't have shrimp.

Jan: Welcome! I'll check out your site.

Dawn: I wish I had some for breakfast, too!

Grace: I'd love to visit all those places, too. I play this game w/my kids about naming a place you'd like to go for a single day. My places are usually influenced by food!

Linda: It's on my list of things to post! Mmmm ... it's a good one, too, with potatoes and bacon. YUM!

Cathy said...

I've never done much Southern cooking, but I have to try this recipe. Love the sausage, shrimps, grits combo. Does the hot sauce come in a milder version?

noble pig said...

Very, very the creamy grits thrown in!

Love the shrimp too...

jesse said...

Mmmm, well after this post, I'm GOING TO live on the wild side fo sho!

Bellini Valli said...

New Orleans is on the list. In the mean time I can live vicariously through you:D

Paula said...

Hope everyone had a great weekend!

Cathy: You know, I think this would taste great without a sauce, or a nice standard white wine sauce.

Noble Pig: It was fun to try something new!

Jesse: Thanks for stopping by! I show my wild side by listening to the song, "Wild Child". :-)

Bellini Valli: Where should we go next? :-)

Katherine Aucoin said...

AS a New Orleans native your did a fantastic job. This looks like a savory dish.

Try using Zataran's seasoning instead of Old Bay...totally different taste more subtle and flavorful.

Peter M said...

Now you've done it...I'm going to hum Lou Reed's tune and think of shrimp and sausage all day.

Pam said...

Oh Paula, this is making me drool. I've never had grits but I know I would love them.

The Blonde Duck said...

I moved! Come visit me at

Maria said...

I have never had shrimp and grits together. I will have to give it a whirl!

Aggie said...

Oh yum!! I want a bite!! I love New Orleans food...and I love spicy!! This looks perfect...and your photos are making my mouth water!

Kevin said...

Sausage, shrimp and cheesy grits sounds so good!!

TeaLady said...

Nothin' better than Louisiana/Creole/Cajun/spicy food. Congrats on this one, it is one of the better recipes. Shrimp and grits are a basic regional.