This is one of my "copy cat" recipes. We went out to eat at a local restaurant and sadly I regretted my meal choice. My mother in law on the other hand, had a delicious meal. It was also one that seemed easy enough to duplicate, so I did. I had never cooked Cajun sauce before and Google searches didn’t really yield anything that seemed to fit the bill. So the first few times I made this recipe, I used the dehydrated prefab Cajun/Creole/ettouffee sauces and it worked pretty well. But I figured that if I was going to post it here, I had better step up my game. :)
I cooked this for company, so this is a serves 6-8 recipe, you can always halve it if you need to.
For the Grits:
Grits/Polenta (They're pretty much the same thing. You can use white or yellow, quick or traditional. I like Bob Mills Polenta, but that’s just a personal preference.)
14 oz of Smoked Gouda (It's important that it is smoked. The quantity has a little wiggle room.)
1/2 tbsp Salt
1 tbsp Pepper
2 tbsp Granulated Garlic
For the Cajun Sauce:
4 cups Chicken Stock (I found Swanson’s Louisiana Cajun... you could use regular, we will get to that later.)
1/2 Cup Butter
1/2 Cup Flour
For the Cajun Rub/Seasoning:
1 tbsp Salt
1 tbsp Cayenne
1 tbsp Black Pepper
1 tbsp Paprika
1 tbsp Granulated Garlic
1 tbsp Onion Powder
1/2 tbsp Dried Thyme
1/2 tbsp Dried Oregano
1-2 Bags Spinach
1-2 Lbs Prawns/Jumbo Shrimp
1. Mix all ingredients into a bowl, stir together and set aside.
Cooking the Cajun Sauce:
1. The first thing you will want to do is make your roux. In a sauce pan, melt 1/2 cup of butter.
2. Once the butter is melted whisk in the 1/2 cup of flour. Stir till this mixture is homogonous. Do not let it burn.
3. Pour in your chicken stock as you continue to whisk it all together. After a few minutes the liquid will thicken up. This is the purpose of the roux, it is a thickening agent.
(I mentioned above that I used Swanson's Louisiana Cajun flavored chicken stock. If you can't find it, you can use traditional chicken stock. The Cajun stock has a lot of the flavors already worked into it. If you use traditional chicken stock, you're going to add more of the Cajun seasoning to the sauce, if you used Cajun chicken stock, then you will add less.)
4. Add Cajun seasoning (from the above recipe above) to desired taste/spiciness.
5. Reduce or turn off heat till you're ready to assemble the dish.
Cooking the Grits:
1. Grade your smoked Gouda cheese and set it aside. I used 2 7 oz wedges. I also made 8 servings of grits. Like I said earlier, there is some wiggle room here. So don’t worry about being exact. It’s just going to be a little ore or a little less cheesy.
2. Follow the preparation instructions for your grits/polenta.
3. Once the grits have thickened up and/or are cooked, slowly add the cheese till everything is well blended.
4. Add the salt, pepper and garlic powder.
5. Reduce or turn off heat and set aside.
Cooking the Prawns:
1. We skewered and grilled ours (about 4 minutes on each side). But you could always cook them off it a pan with a little olive oil or butter if you so choose.
2. Lightly baste with olive oil or butter.
3. Just season them to taste (with some of the remaining Cajun seasoning, or with a simple dash salt and pepper) and cook whichever way you choose.
4. While the prawns are cooking I begin to cook my spinach. Just toss it in a large pan and add a few tbsp of butter and salt and pepper to taste.
Putting it all together:
1. If you've turned off the heat on your grits and/or Cajun sauce, you will want to reheat them and give a quick stir.
2. Make sure the prawns and the spinach are cooked to your liking.
3. Put the Gouda grits in first, followed by the Cajun sauce, the spinach and top it off with the prawns. You could always grate a little extra cheese on there too.
Enjoy your yummy food!