Friday, November 4, 2011

Sweet Potato Grits and Shrimp ala Bobby Flay

Said it before, say it again... Bobby Flay is a genius.

At the risk of offending my southern friends, grits just ain't that good.  Just kind of bland.  But, with a little effort, grits can be seasoned and flavored to be Very Very good.  And with just a bit more effort, they can be extra ordinary.

Like these.

The recipe can be found in Bobby Flay's MESA GRILL COOKBOOK.  According to his introduction for the dish, "I can see this as a Sunday dinner with the family, with the grits piled in the middle of the plate, surrounded by the shrimp.  But the grits are so good, you could also serve them as a side dish for an elaborate meal." ...

Or a side dish for Thanksgiving dinner???

Here's what I did...

1 large Sweet Potato
2 TBS Canola Oil
1/2 Shallot, finely diced
4 cloves Garlic, smashed and minced
2 1/2 cups Chicken Stock
1 cup whole Milk
2 tsp pureed Chipotle Chile in Adobe Sauce
   (yes, from the can, into the mini chopper to puree)

pinch Kosher Salt
1 1/2 cups quick cooking Grits
2 TBS Butter
3 TBS Honey
6 TBS Olive Oil
1 pound large Shrimp, shelled and deveined
Fresh ground Black Pepper to taste

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  • Roast the sweet potato in the oven until tender when pierced with a knife (about 45 to 60 minutes)
  • Peel the sweet potato and puree the flesh in a food processor (or mini chopper)
  • Heat the canola oil in a medium saucepan, add the shallot and cook until soft, 3 to 4 minutes.  Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds more.
  • Add the stock, milk, chipotle puree and salt... bring to a boil.
  • Slowly whisk in the grits.  Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer for 10 minutes.
  • Stir in the sweet potato puree, stirring frequently for 5 to 10 minutes, until smooth and thickened.
  • Remove from the heat and whisk in the butter  and honey to taste.  Cover and keep warm.
  • Sauté the shrimp in preheated olive oil for just a few minutes.  DO NOT OVERCOOK.  Season with salt and pepper.
Spoon the grits on a plate, top with the simple sautéed shrimp and serve with a sauce of your choice.  In the MEAS GRILL Cookbook, Bobby gives recipes for a Green Onion-Cilantro sauce and a Red Chili Oil sauce.  If you make them both, you get a little "Heaven and Hell" sauce choices, and they look great on a plate...

Green Onion Cilantro Sauce...

1 cup sliced Green Onions (white and green parts)
1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh Cilantro
1/4 cup Rice Wine Vinegar
1 TBS Dijon Mustard
Pinch Salt and Pepper
1/2 cup Canola Oil

Combine everything except the oil in a food processor and pulse until smooth.  With the motor running, add the oil slowly until emulsified.


Red Chili Oil...

2 red Jalapeño Pepper, roasted, with the skin, seeds and white parts removed
1 cup Canola Oil

Back to the mini chopper and blend away!


This was a terrific meal.  Actually, except for the roasting of the sweet potato, the whole thing came together in less than 30 minutes.  You can make the sauces while the grits are cooking, and the shrimp is about as fast to cook as you can get.

But really, it's not so much the speed that makes it a winner.  What an incredible combination of tastes.  the sauces are sweet and spicy, as well as hot and flavorful.  The shrimp are simple, but the taste shines with the simple salt and pepper seasonings.  But the sweet potato grits are destined to become a favorite.

Here's a few extra photos to give you an idea of the very easy process...



  1. What a beautiful way to doctor up grits. I do like grits, but usually with cheese and garlic! This is way better with all the bright colors!

  2. Great looking meal Dave - I like the sweet tater in the grits and you're right - like pizza dough, grits are just the starting point.

  3. I'm a Flay fan myself. Love the addition of sweet potato and those sauces sound amazing!

  4. I love grits as is...but I think we can all agree that everything is better with an orange veggie mixed in. These look awesome!