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Mardi Gras seems to have arrived earlier than usual this year.
Thankfully I am always in the mood for Louisiana fare, and joyfully found and fixed this Southern recipe.
In my experience, Creole (of French, African and Spanish Heritage http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shrimp_Creole) dishes are usually tomato based, but interestingly, this one was not. It did, however, have the perfect amount of spice, and paired beautifully with the cheesy, creamy grits.
In years past, we have been fortunate to celebrate Mardi Gras in Louisiana, always a very fun time. But as I no longer live there, and my husband no longer rides in a parade, we have stayed close to home the last few years.


3 tablespoons butter, divided
6 tablespoons green onions, thinly sliced, divided
3 teaspoons minced garlic, divided
1 (12 ounce) bottle Hefeweizen beer
3/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon herbes de Provence
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/4 cup green bell pepper, cored and diced
1/4 cup red bell pepper, cored and diced
1 1/2 pounds large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons lemon juice
Cheddar grits for serving (recipe follows)

Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a small saucepan. Add 2 tablespoons green onion and 1 teaspoon garlic and cook over low heat until softened, about 3 minutes. Add beer and Worcestershire sauce and increase heat to medium-high. Boil to reduce sauce to 1 cup, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from heat.
In a small bowl, combine cumin, herbes de Provence, salt, cayenne pepper, paprika, and ground black pepper. Set aside.
In a large saute pan, heat oil until shimmering. Add remaining 4 tablespoons of green onion, remaining 2 teaspoons of garlic and green and red bell pepper. Sprinkle with spice mixture and saute until vegetables have softened, about 5 minutes. Add shrimp and sear on one side, about 1 minute. Flip shrimp and add reserved sauce, remaining 2 tablespoons butter, and cream and bring to a simmer, stirring to coat with sauce. Remove from heat, stir in lemon juice and serve over Cheddar Grits.


3/4 cups quick-cooking grits
2 tablespoons heavy cream
2 tablespoons butter
3/4 cup grated sharp white cheddar cheese
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
pinch of white pepper

Bring 3 cups of water to a boil. Whisk in grits, lower heat to simmer, and cover, stirring occasionally, 4 to 6 minutes or until thickened. Stir in cream, butter, cheese, salt, and pepper.

Recipe adapted from Oprah Magazine, June 2012