Shrimp & Grits with Tomatillo Sauce

Shrimp & Grits with Tomatillo Sauce

3 Reviews
From: EatingWell Magazine, May/June 2014

This shrimp and grits recipe get a zesty makeover with a vibrant salsa verde. Any type of whole-grain (or stone-ground) cornmeal will work for these Southern-style grits, but for the best texture, we recommend using medium-ground cornmeal or grits.

Ingredients 4 servings

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  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ cup medium- to coarse-ground yellow cornmeal or grits
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 cups low-fat milk
  • ¾ teaspoon salt, divided
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1 pound tomatillos (see Tips), husked and rinsed
  • 1 large onion, cut into ½-inch-thick rounds
  • 3 poblano peppers
  • 2 slices bacon
  • 20 raw shrimp (16-20 per pound), peeled and deveined (see Tips)
  • ½ cup chopped fresh cilantro


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  1. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add cornmeal (or grits), broth, milk, ½ teaspoon salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens, about 5 minutes. Partially cover, reduce heat to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until thick and very creamy, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.
  2. About 30 minutes before the grits are done, preheat broiler to high.
  3. Place tomatillos, onion slices and poblanos on a rimmed baking sheet and broil 3 to 4 inches from the heat source, turning once, until the peppers are blistered and the onion is beginning to color, 5 to 10 minutes.
  4. Transfer the tomatillos to a food processor (or blender); puree until smooth. Transfer to a large saucepan. When cool enough to handle, peel the peppers and remove stems and seeds. Chop the peppers and onion and add to the pureed tomatillos along with the remaining ¼ teaspoon salt; bring to a simmer over medium heat. Cook, stirring, until thickened, about 5 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, cook bacon in a large, heavy skillet over medium heat. Remove to a paper-towel-lined plate; crumble. Add shrimp to the pan and cook, turning once, until just cooked through, 3 to 5 minutes.
  6. Stir the bacon and cilantro into the tomatillo sauce. Serve sauce and shrimp over the grits.
  • Tomatillos—tart fruits that look like husk-covered green tomatoes—add a savory tang to this charred-tomatillo sauce served with shrimp and grits.
  • Shrimp is usually sold by the number needed to make one pound. For example, “21-25 count” means there will be 21 to 25 shrimp in a pound. Size names, such as “large” or “extra large,” are not standardized, so to get the size you want, order by the count per pound. Both wild-caught and farm-raised shrimp can damage the surrounding ecosystems when not managed properly. Fortunately, it is possible to buy shrimp that have been raised or caught with sound environmental practices. Look for fresh or frozen shrimp certified by an independent agency, such as the Marine Stewardship Council. If you can't find certified shrimp, choose wild-caught shrimp from North America—it's more likely to be sustainably caught.
  • Cut Down on Dishes: A rimmed baking sheet is great for everything from roasting to catching accidental drips and spills. For effortless cleanup and to keep your baking sheets in tip-top shape, line them with a layer of foil before each use.

Nutrition information

  • Serving size: ¾ cup grits, ⅔ cup sauce & 5 shrimp
  • Per serving: 331 calories; 9 g fat(2 g sat); 6 g fiber; 34 g carbohydrates; 31 g protein; 35 mcg folate; 168 mg cholesterol; 15 g sugars; 0 g added sugars; 1,047 IU vitamin A; 89 mg vitamin C; 254 mg calcium; 3 mg iron; 709 mg sodium; 1,145 mg potassium
  • Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin C (148% daily value), Calcium (25% dv), Vitamin A (21% dv)
  • Carbohydrate Servings:
  • Exchanges: 2 starch, 3 vegetable, ½ low-fat milk, 3 lean meat, 1 fat

Reviews 3

May 22, 2014
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By: EatingWell User
Very Tasty! A very tasty recipe. It did take some time and at one point I had three skillets going at the same time, but well worth it! I made the recipe as is and found the grits were very creamy and the tomatillo sauce is chunky. I have enough for left over so I'm going to puree the rest of the tomatillo sauce as it was too chunky for my tastes.
May 18, 2014
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By: EatingWell User
A Southwestern spin on a Southern classic I made the recipe as stated, except that I used regular (old-fashioned) grits, which I prefer over cornmeal. The package of grits said to use 1 cup of grits for four servings, and that matched the amount of liquid called for in this recipe, so I used 1 cup. Glad I did, I think the grits would have been way too runny with only 1/2 cup (I like my grits real thick). I used a Maya sweet onion, which turned out really well, since it gave the salsa verde a nice touch of sweetness. It should be noted that the recipe does not instruct that the peppers should be enclosed in a paper bag or wrapped in paper towels and sealed in a Zip-Loc bag for 15 to 20 minutes, to make it easier to remove the skins. This step is crucial, especially with Poblanos, which don't give up their skins easily. That adds to the prep time, of course, but if you skip this step, they are a pain to peel. Dirties a lot of utensils, too, but the results are definitely worth it. Excellent recipe. Pros: Excellent combination of textures and flavors Cons: Pretty time-consuming, uses a lot of utensils.
May 14, 2014
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By: EatingWell User
Amazingly delicious! This recipe was spot-on! What a great combination of taste and texture. It had just the right amount of heat. I made the recipe as-is. It did take me a good 1-1/2 hours to make. I thought I could relax for a bit while the grits were cooking but that just didn't happen. I reheated the leftovers the next day and it was just as good as the first day. Cons: Cook time is long, but worth it.
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