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Cajun Shrimp with Cheesy Grits and Bacon Braised Collard Greens

The salty bacon balances the slightly bitter collard greens and compliments the creamy and cheesy grits and the spicy of the cajun shrimp.
Course Main Course
Cuisine American, Southern
Keyword bacon, cheese, collard greens, corn, cornmeal, grits, seafood, shellfish, shrimp
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Servings 4

Ingredients

For the grits:

  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup yellow corn grits
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 ½ cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

For the collard greens:

  • ¼ pound bacon, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ medium yellow onion, diced
  • 1 large bunch collard greens, about 1 pound, stems removed and sliced into 1½” ribbons
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • Kosher salt to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

For the shrimp:

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 pound raw jumbo, 16/20 shrimp, shelled and deveined, tail on
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/8 teaspoon thyme
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 heirloom tomato, thinly sliced, for serving
  • 1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley, for garnish

Instructions

For the grits:

  • Heat a medium saucepan over medium heat, add the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Slowly whisk in the grits and reduce the heat to medium-low.
  • Cook the grits until tender, about 15 to 20 minutes, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon, breaking up any clumps with the back of the spoon. Remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in the butter and then the cheese until completely melted. Season with salt and pepper.

For the collard greens:

  • Heat a medium sauté pan over low heat and add the bacon. Turn the heat up to medium and cook until the fat renders and the bacon is crispy. Remove to a paper towel lined plate using a slotted spoon.
  • Leave as much of the bacon fat in the pan as possible then add the onion and garlic and sauté until tender, about 6 minutes. Add the collard greens and sauté until they are wilted, about 4 minutes.
  • Add the chicken stock and continue to cook, until the greens are tender, about 6 additional minutes. Season with salt and pepper and top with the bacon. If the liquid absorbs too fast, add more 1/4 cup at a time.

For the shrimp:

  • Heat a large sauté pan over medium heat, add the olive oil and heat through. Add the butter and allow to melt.
  • In a small bowl stir together the paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, thyme, cayenne and pepper. Season the shrimp on both sides with the Cajun seasoning mix.
  • Arrange the shrimp in the pan and sauté on both sides until pink and no longer translucent, about 1 minute per side. Remove the shrimp from the pan and set aside.

To serve:

  • Ladle the grits into warmed bowls then top with collard greens, sliced heirloom tomatoes and the Cajun shrimp. Garnish with parsley.