This recipe from Maxie’s Supper Club in Ithaca, New York, takes shrimp and grits to the next level, with a spicy, ham-laden sauce and creamy grits topped with bits of andouille sausage.
For the sauce:
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
3 ounces tasso ham or pancetta, small dice
1/4 medium red onion, small dice
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 medium garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 teaspoon curry powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon paprika
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons dry white wine
3/4 cup clam juice
1/2 chicken bouillon cube, crushed into small granules
1/2 chipotle in adobo sauce, finely chopped
1/3 cup heavy cream
For the grits:
1 1/2 cups water
3/4 cup whole milk, plus more as needed
1/4 cup heavy cream
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more as needed
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper, plus more as needed
3/4 cup yellow grits (not instant)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 (3-ounce) andouille sausage, medium dice
1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh chives
For the sauce:
Place the vegetable oil and ham or pancetta in a medium frying pan and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the fat has rendered and the meat is crispy, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add the onion and cook until softened, about 4 minutes. Add the tomato paste, garlic, curry, cumin, cayenne, and paprika and stir until evenly incorporated. Sprinkle the flour over the mixture and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture darkens and a coating forms on the bottom of the pan, about 1 to 2 minutes.
Add the wine and cook, stirring occasionally, until nearly evaporated, about 30 seconds. Add the clam juice, bouillon cube, and chipotle and whisk, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the cream, whisk to combine, and cook until simmering, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.
For the grits:
Combine the water, measured milk, cream, butter, and measured salt and white pepper in a medium saucepan over medium heat and bring to a simmer.
Stir in the grits and bring to a simmer again. Cook, without stirring, until the grits float to the surface, about 1 to 2 minutes. Cover with a tightfitting lid, remove from the heat, and let sit until all of the moisture has been absorbed, at least 10 minutes. Whisk until smooth, taste, and add more salt and white pepper as needed. Whisk in additional milk as needed to reach the desired consistency. Set aside.
Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium heat until shimmering, about 3 minutes. Add the sausage to the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned on all sides, about 4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the sausage to a small bowl; set aside.
Add the shrimp to the pan in a single layer and cook, flipping once, until just pink on both sides, about 1 to 2 minutes (the shrimp will not be fully cooked). Add the reserved tasso sauce, stir to combine, and reduce the heat to low. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is bubbling and the shrimp are fully cooked, about 1 to 2 minutes. (If the sauce is too thick, stir in a little water until it reaches the desired consistency.)
To serve, divide the reserved grits among 4 bowls, top with the shrimp and sauce, and garnish with the reserved sausage and chives.