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In cooking, as in life, trusting yourself is a big hurdle to get across. Actually, its a hurdle you have to jump over time and time again until it becomes second nature; until you can confidently do exactly what you want with no regrets and no self-doubt.
It is much easier to do with dinner than it is to do in life.
Self-trust is exactly how this meal of creamy grits, savory sausage, sweet shrimp and tangy Swiss chard came along. I really wanted to eat all of those things and I really wanted to eat them all at the same time. It took quite a bit of confidence for me to simply start cooking without much of a plan. Just go with it, feel my way through it, but that’s exactly what I did.
I did have a backup plan. The kids had a friend over and I had a giant pan of tacos in the works (because we all know most kids wouldn’t touch something like this). So, if the spicy/sausage/shrimp/greens combo didn’t work out I wouldn’t be having peanut butter and jelly for dinner.
But the most glorious thing happens sometimes when you just go for it, sometimes it all works out. And I have to say that Spicy Sausage & Shrimp over Parmesan Grits that floated through my brain and then came together on my kitchen stove top (in less than 30 minutes I might add) was completely satisfying and exactly what I was craving. The bonus was that it also looked very pretty in the new bowl that my mom made me (she is an extraordinary potter).
So, the kids had tacos and I had this delightful creation all to myself.
- 3 cups chicken stock
- 1 cup quick cooking grits
- 1/2 cup shredded parmesan
- 2 tsp kosher salt, divided
- 4 Tbsp butter
- 1 T olive oil
- 1 16 oz package, Italian chicken sausage casings removed and sliced
- 1 small onion, finely diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 bunch swiss chard
- 15 oz can diced tomatoes, drained
- Pinch red pepper flakes
- 1 tsp dried basil
- 1/2 pound peeled and deveined shrimp
- 3 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
- In saucepan, bring the chicken stock to a boil. Whisk in the grits and reduce heat to a simmer. Stir often until the grits are thick and creamy, about 5 minutes. Whisk in butter, salt and Parmesan cheese. Set aside. If the grits get too thick, thin them out with a little water.
- While the grits are cooking, heat the oil over medium heat in a skillet. Brown the sausage until cooked through and remove to a bowl to keep warm. Add the onion and garlic to the skillet. Remove the stems from the chard and finely chop those and then add to the skillet. Add in the chopped leaves of chard, tomatoes, and the red pepper flakes, basil and shrimp. Cook until the shrimp is pink. Add in the balsamic vinegar and sausage and toss together until the chard is wilted and the sausage is heated through. Taste for seasoning, add the remaining salt if necessary.
- Serve the shrimp and sausage mixture on top of the Parmesan grits.