Cajun Shrimp & Cheesy Grits with Braised Collard Greens

Shrimp and Grits is one of my very favorite meals. The ingredients with the exception of shrimp, are quite affordable. Luckily my local grocery store has shrimp on sale just about every week, so I really prefer to make this dish at home. Typically restaurants charge around $15-$25 for this entrée and you can serve 4 people for the same price if you cook it yourself. If you’re looking to entertain guests or make a romantic meal for your loved one, this meal is sure to impress!

Shrimp & Grits with Braised Collard Greens
Garnished with Bacon and Parsley

Grits are the one thing that I am not a fan of making. If you have ever had the pleasure of cooking grits, you know that you have to stir constantly for about 15-20min or they will stick to the bottom and scald. It’s high maintenance, time consuming, and your arm gets tired! Cue my favorite cooking implement, the Instant Pot! To make grits in the Instant Pot, you simply sauté the grits in butter, add all the ingredients, close the lid, set the cook time, and walk away. Once the grits are done cooking, give it a quick stir, add the cheese, and DONE! It is so much easier and tastes exactly the same.

I use an 8qt Duo Evo

Collard greens are a recent addition for me as I have a garden and my collards are prolific this year. I love collards and frequently pair them with Cajun food to add a little soul to the meal. Adding collard greens does 3 things: adds texture, adds color, and creates more complex flavor profile. Also collard greens are incredibly healthy! This decadent meal can definitely use a healthy component to round it out.

Collard Greens from my Garden

Cajun seasoning is a very simple blend to make, using seasonings like: paprika, cayenne, garlic powder, pepper, and oregano. But I absolutely Penzey’s Cajun seasoning blend so I buy it in bulk. Penzey’s proprietary blend of Cajun seasoning has some ingredients that I can’t seem to reproduce in my own home blend. It’s a kitchen splurge that I don’t have any guilt about. If you haven’t tried it, they sell sample packets and I highly recommend!

My favorite Cajun Blend Photo Credit – Penzey’s Website

Finally, I feel like shrimp and grits needs an acid to complete the dish. I like to add acid in the form of hot sauce. Crystal is my preferred Louisiana Hot Sauce because it is nice and vinegary with just a hint of heat. I don’t like to overwhelm the delicate flavors of the dish by adding so much heat that I can’t taste the food. But to each their own!

Crystal Hot Sauce
Photo Credit – Crystal Hot Sauce

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