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Magnolia's Spicy Shrimp, Sausage and Tasso Gravy over Creamy White Grits

Source: magnolias-blossom.com - Magnolia's, Charleston, South Carolina

Creamy White Grits:
12 cups chicken broth
4 1/2 cups coarse stone-ground white grits
1 cup heavy cream
Salt and white pepper to taste

Bring the chicken broth to a boil in a heavy-bottomed stockpot or large saucepan. Slowly pour in the grits, stirring constantly. Reduce the heat to low and continue to stir so that the grits do not settle to the bottom and scorch. In about 5 minutes, the grits will plump up and become a thick mass.

Continue to cook the grits for about 20-25 minutes, stirring frequently. The grits should have absorbed all of the chicken stock and become soft. Stir in heavy cream and cook for another 10 minutes, stirring frequently. The grits should have a thick consistency and be creamy like oatmeal. Season to taste with salt and white pepper. Keep warm over low heat until ready to serve. If the grits become too thick, add warm chicken broth or water to thin them down.

Tasso Gravy:
4 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup sliced Tasso, cut in 1-inch strips
1/2 cup flour
4 cups chicken broth
2 tablespoon finely chopped parsley
Salt and white pepper to taste

Melt the butter in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over low heat. Add the Tasso. Sauté for 1 minute, browning slightly. Make a roux by adding the flour and stirring until well combined. Continue to cook over low heat for 5 minutes, stirring frequently until the roux develops a nutty aroma. Turn the heat up to medium and gradually add 2 cups of the chicken broth, stirring vigorously. Keep stirring constantly until the broth thickens into gravy. Reduce the heat and simmer over low heat for 15 minutes to cook out the starchy flavor. Add the parsley. Simmer for another 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Shrimp and Sausage:
1/2 pound spicy Italian sausage (3/4 pound of raw)
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 pounds medium or large peeled and deveined shrimp
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 recipe Tasso Gravy
2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley

Heat oven to 400 degrees F.

To cook Italian sausage: Place the Italian sausage on a baking sheet with raised sides. Place on the top rack of the 400 degree F oven and bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until the sausage is firm and its juices run clear. Cool and cut into small bite-size pieces.

Heat the olive oil in a heavy-bottom frying pan over medium heat. Add the precooked sausage and saute for 2 minutes to brown slightly. Add the shrimp and saute until they begin to turn pink-no longer than 1 minute. Add 1 cup of the chicken broth to deglaze the pan. Add the Tasso Gravy and one tablespoon of the parsley. Bring up to a boil and let simmer for 1 minute. The last 1/2 cup of chicken stock is to be used to thin the gravy if needed.

Divide the hot grits between 8 warm bowls. Spoon the shrimp, sausage mixture over the grits. Sprinkle with the remaining Tablespoon of parsley and serve immediately.

NOTE: If using large shrimp, allow 6 per person; for medium sized shrimp, 8 to 10 shrimp.

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