November 22, 2011

Thanksgiving Breakfast....Southern Creole Style!

 Lagniappe derives from New World Spanish la ñapa, "the gift," and ultimately from Quechua yapay, "to give more." The word came into the rich Creole dialect mixture of New Orleans and there acquired a French spelling. It is still used in the Gulf states, especially southern Louisiana, to denote a little bonus that a friendly shopkeeper might add to a purchase. By extension, it may mean "an extra or unexpected gift or benefit."

Shrimp and grits — a Southern favorite — relies on two key components: fabulous cheese grits and buttery sauteed shrimp. The rest is in the details. Of course, that lagniappe, or "little something extra," infuses character and flavor to the dish and tells your guests they're worth the added effort. Welcome to our Thanksgiving breakfast at Estlle's....the southern creole way!

Comfort Grits
6 cups water
1 teaspoon salt
Pepper, to taste
11⁄2 cups and 2 tablespoons grits
1 cup milk
1 to 11⁄2 sticks butter, or more to taste
6 slices American cheese

Place water, salt and pepper in a saucepan and bring to boil. Add grits, milk and butter. Stir and cover. Cook for at least one hour over low heat. Stir frequently. About 5 minutes before serving, add cheese, and continue to stir. Add more butter or milk if grits need to be thinned.

Creole Gulf Shrimp
1⁄2 pound bacon, cooked and crumbled
4 tablespoons butter, divided
1 pound medium (70/90) shrimp, divided
2 teaspoons garlic powder or more to taste, divided
1 teaspoon ground red pepper, divided
Salt, to taste
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon bacon drippings or olive oil
1⁄2 red, green or orange bell pepper, coarsely chopped
1⁄2 onion, coarsely chopped
1⁄4 cup mushrooms, coarsely chopped
1⁄2 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon paprika
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
1 to 11⁄2 teaspoons minced garlic or more to taste
1 teaspoon onion powder
3 green onions, chopped

Cook bacon; drain and crumble. Set aside. Reserve drippings.

On high heat, melt 2 tablespoons of butter in skillet and sauté 1/2 pound of shrimp seasoned with 1 teaspoon of garlic powder, 1/2 teaspoon of red pepper and salt. Repeat for remaining shrimp.

In another skillet, heat butter and bacon drippings or olive oil. Sauté vegetables and stir in black pepper, paprika, salt, garlic and onion powder. Serve shrimp over Comfort Grits. Top with sautéed vegetables, bacon crumbles and green onions.

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