Winter in the South is fickle, some days chilly, windy, rainy or downright warm. And while I think most southern food is comfort food- there’s nothing like something warm in a bowl to make us all feel better about the weather and the world in general. It’s like a warm hug or a welcome home, now that’s southern comfort. And, let’s face it- this sort of comfort food is a great way to feed the multitudes!
- Shrimp and Grits
- Fresh Tomato Soup
- End of Summer Vegetable Soup
- Fresh Mushroom Soup
- Mimi’s Lemon Butter Chicken
- Camellia’s Spicy Shrimp
All of these and more have made us southern folks feel full and comforted. Often, it’s what’s served alongside these dishes, that’s just as delicious as the bowl of soup, stew, gumbo, dumplings or shrimp and grits!
- Cornbread Patties…
- Bighearted Cornbread…
- Garlic Breadsticks
- Saltines or Tiny Oyster Crackers
- Toppings of grated cheeses, crumbled bacon, thin sliced cucumbers, celery sticks, red pepper flakes, even hot sauce
All add that special something to a one bowl meal. Think of a Build Your Own Shrimp and Grits Buffet… now, that would be a Comfort Food gathering!
And is there anything better than Tomato Soup with a Grilled Cheese Sandwich, especially when it’s made in an iron skillet? Try Iron Skillet Sandwiches…
A lot of these Comfort Foods we’ve already written about, yet never fear we’ll give you the links and the prettiest pictures we could come up with at the time! However, I realized a grave error; while we’ve expounded on Bighearted Grits, I’ve never actually given you the recipe for topping those hominy grits with warm and spicy shrimp! So! That’s your bonus round today! And very well one of the easiest recipes I’ve ever given to you…
Now, we all know that every recipe has a story- Shrimp and Grits started out as an humble quick breakfast for shrimpers, then city folks and high browed chefs got in on the act! Here’s how you make the ‘shrimp part’ of Shrimp and Grits-
Shrimp and Grits
- Grits made according to package directions. I prefer Hominy Grits.
- 2-3 slices bacon
- 1 pound peeled and deveined shrimp (any size, I like medium for this)
- 1/2 Teaspoon of Old Bay Seasoning
- Pinch of salt
- 1 Teaspoon Tabasco Sauce
- Grated zest added to the juice of one large lemon
- Grated Cheddar Cheese, if desired and I do!
- Chopped Green Onion Tops
- While the grits are cooking, take an iron skillet, fry bacon slices until crisp, drain. Reserve 2-3 Tablespoons of Bacon Drippings in the iron skillet. Finish making grits and keep warm until ready to serve. Add lemon zest, lemon juice and hot sauce, reserve. Sprinkle raw shrimp with a dusting of Old Bay Seasoning, toss. In hot skillet, quickly cook shrimp in a single layer on both sides until pink. Swirl in lemon juice mixture and heat through. A thin gravy will form. Spoon Shrimp over a bowl of grits and a portion of gravy. Top with crumbled bacon, grated cheese and garnish with green onion tops. Feel free to add whatever toppings you like! Tip: Old Bay Seasoning is hot! Hot Sauce is hot! Start with a small amount and adjust seasonings. You may want to omit the Old Bay Seasoning and simply sprinkle raw shrimp with salt and pepper before cooking shrimp. Serve with Bighearted Grits…
This classic dish is quick and easy… makes 4 generous servings and may be expanded to feed a crowd!
And… The beauty of soups and stews is they all can increased to feed a crowd or served for more than one meal! So, here are few links to some of our favorite soups and stews! All are full of ‘good for you’ ingredients! Enjoy!
Mimi’s Lemon Butter Chicken…– an heirloom recipe she claimed would cure anything!
Homemade Mushroom Soup… is loaded with fresh mushrooms, butter and fresh thyme!
The classic version of Chicken and Dumplings… with no big ol’ thick globs of dough either, strips of dough make it perfect! And I promise I’ll make you a batch of these soon!
Camellia’s Bighearted Spicy Shrimp is way easier than you would believe! And, it is very similar to gumbo – which has the addition of sausage, green onions, bell peppers and tomatoes- It does start with a roux! Scary? the easiest way I’ve found to start a roux is found in Of Real Roux and Faux Beignets… Great with rice, though this gumbo can also be used alongside those Bighearted Grits!
Southerners are known for hospitality, comfort food and knowing how to feed the multitudes! Soups, Stews even Shrimp and Grits stretch farther because small amounts of meat or seafood are combined with delicious broths, vegetables, starches and seasonings, they are all satisfying and just plain good. Here’s a bowl of End of Summer Vegetable Soup, that is basically the last pickings of tomatoes, corn, okra, bean, peas, carrots, onions and a good chicken broth and if you have a bit of chicken- add that in too! Nothing better with a pan of cornbread!
Looks like we’re going to have a cold snap and a bit of cold weather followed by warm spells and rain! Here’s hoping your house is filled with soups, stews, spicy shrimp and well…Southern Comfort Food!
Love y’all, Camellia
All photographs are obviously mine!