Smothered Shrimp & Cheesey Grits

I recently learned that my paternal grandmother’s side of the family is deeply routed in New Orleans and throughout Louisiana. Although I did not grow up with that direct knowledge, I almost feel as if that connection has always lived within me. Ever since I was a kid, I’ve had an affinity for jazz, a fascination with Cajun and Creole culture, not to mention I basically grew up to be Disney’s Princess Tiana. This spicy, creamy, and comforting recipe is a sort of homage to learning more and growing through my roots. Parmesan is optional! Feel free to use any cheese that you desire or omit it entirely.

Smothered Shrimp-
2 Tablespoons Butter
1 Tablespoon Avocado Oil
1 Small Onion, finely chopped
1 Small Green Bell Pepper, finely chopped
2 Stalks of Celery, finely chopped
6 Cloves of Garlic, minced
2 Tablespoons All-Purpose Flour
1 Tablespoon of Cajun Seasoning
3 Links of Andouille Sausage, sliced
1 14.5oz Carton of Chicken Broth
1 14.5oz Can of Diced Fire Roasted Tomatoes, drained
12oz Large Wild-Caught Shrimp, peeled, deveined, tail on or off (optional)
1/3 Cup Heavy Cream
Salt and Pepper, to taste
2 Tablespoons Chopped Parsley, for garnish

Cheesey Grits-
3 Cups of Chicken Broth
1/2 Cup Quick Grits
1/2 Cup Parmesan Cheese, grated
1/4 Cup of Heavy Cream
1 Teaspoon Freshly Ground Black Pepper

1. Heat butter and oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat.
2. Add the onion, bell pepper and celery and cook until softened, about 7-8 minutes.
3. Stir in garlic, flour, and Cajun seasoning and cook briefly, about 15 seconds.
4. Add sausage, chicken broth, and tomatoes. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer for about 10 minutes, or until slightly reduced and thickened.
5. Stir in shrimp and cook 2 to 3 minutes, or until pink and just firm.
6. Stir in heavy cream and heat through. Serve with grits.

Cheesey Grits-
7. Bring chicken broth to a boil and salt to taste.
8. Slowly stir in quick grits and cook per package directions. Stir in cheese, cream and black pepper. Serve with shrimp.

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