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For the grits:
- ¾ cup grits
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 6 ounces Cheddar cheese, grated
- 3 tablespoons butter
For the shrimp:
- 4 tablespoons butter
- ¾ cup chopped onion
- ½ cup chopped green bell pepper
- 2 gloves garlic, minced
- 1 cup diced ripe tomatoes with a little of their juice (chopped canned tomatoes are preferable to less-than-perfect fresh tomatoes)
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 tablespoon flour
- 1 pound medium to large raw shrimp, shelled (reserve shells for stock)
- ½ to 1 cup shrimp stock (see note)
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- ⅓ cup heavy cream
- 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
- 2 dashes Tabasco
- Salt to taste
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- For the grits, bring 3 1/2 cups water to a boil and stir in the grits. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook for 15 to 20 minutes, until the grits are tender and the liquid has been absorbed. Remove from heat, add the salt, cheese and butter and stir until melted. Keep warm.
- For the shrimp, melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat and sauté the onion, pepper and garlic until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes and juice and thyme; bring to a simmer. Cook for 2 or 3 minutes. Sprinkle with flour and stir well. Add the shrimp and stir constantly until they begin to turn pink, about 2 minutes. Add 1/2 cup stock and cook for 2 to 3 minutes more. Add the tomato paste and stir until blended. Add the cream, Worcestershire and Tabasco and more stock if needed to make a spoonable sauce that generously coats the shrimp. Heat thoroughly, being careful not to let it come to a boil. Taste for salt.
- Place a portion of grits in the center of each plate and spoon shrimp over or around it. Sprinkle with parsley.
- To make shrimp stock, combine shrimp shells and 2 cups water and boil until the liquid is reduced by half. Strain.