Shrimp and Quinoa Grits Recipe

Topped with bacon and shrimp, this recipe for quinoa grits is a healthy but satisfying take on a traditional Southern comfort food.



From "Cut the Carbs"
July 2016

Yield: 2 generous servings

While there is no end to the difficulty of avoiding white carbs, consuming them too often and too heavily can make you feel sluggish, uncomfortable, and hungry again much too soon. This is what Tori Haschka discovered, and so she turned to experimentation with recipes and ingredients from all over the world that could be used to satisfy and replace her white-carb craving. In Cut the Carbs (The Countryman Press, 2016), Haschka shares 100 of the healthy and delicious ideas — from breakfast to snack foods to dinner — that she’s cooked up. Resulting in more energy, better skin, and a more stable weight, Haschka’s recipes will encourage you to stop relying on nutrient-poor mealtimes and bring new life to your dinner table.

Shrimp cooked in bacon grease and bobbing across a lake of grits is about as Southern as y’all can get. These puddles of hominy are almost a kissing cousin of semolina and cornmeal and the true definition of rib-sticking sustenance. Yet if it’s treated with a little extra love and attention, you can get a similar squelching appeal (but lighter effect) from gussied-up quinoa. Gloss it with a little cream cheese for ooze and add in some lemon zest for lift. If you cook the quinoa in chicken stock it will also help boost the flavors — though if you’re after an extra kick, try roasting the shells of your shrimp for 15 minutes in a moderate oven and infusing them in the warm chicken stock for 20 minutes. This may be a classic breakfast during a Southern summer when shrimp are in season but I find it’s also a heartwarming dinner in winter — and a great way to revive any crustaceans you’ve stashed in the freezer.

Ingredients:

• 1 cup quinoa, rinsed
• generous 2 cups chicken stock
• 2 tablespoons cream cheese
• 1/2 lemon
• 1 tablespoon butter
• 1 tablespoon olive oil
• 1 red chili, finely chopped
• 6 scallions, white and green bits finely chopped
• 2 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
• 3-1/2 ounces (2 slices) smoked bacon, cut into small sticks
• 1 pound 2 ounces raw shrimp, peeled, and heads and digestive tracts removed (11 ounces peeled weight)
• piquant hot sauce, to serve (optional)

Instructions:

1. Put the quinoa and chicken stock in a saucepan and bring it to a boil, then reduce the heat. Simmer with the lid on for 15 minutes, or until most of the liquid has been absorbed. Stir through the cream cheese, and grate in the zest from the lemon half (and then set aside the lemon half). You want a slightly droopy consistency, so if it is too tight, add more cream cheese or a slosh of hot water.

2. While the quinoa is cooking, put a large skillet over medium heat and add the butter, olive oil, half of the chili, white bits of the scallions, garlic, and bacon. Add the reserved lemon half, cut side down, in the pan. Cook until the bacon has begun to render its fat and take on some color.

3. Add the shrimp and cook for 3 to 4 minutes until they have turned nicely pink. Remove them from the pan.

4. Squeeze the burnished lemon into the pan and scrape up any color that has clung to the bottom to create a rustic sauce. Serve the shrimp over the quinoa, topped with the bacon and pan juices. Top with the remaining chili, the piquant hot sauce, if you like, and a handful of the green bits from the scallions.

More from Cut the Carbs:

Homemade Zucchini Fries Recipe
Blue Cheese Soufflés Recipe


Reprinted with permission from Cut the Carbs: 100 Recipes to Help You Ditch White Carbs and Feel Great by Tori Haschka, published by The Countryman Press, an imprint of W.W. Norton & Company, Inc., 2016.