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Dover Post
  • Delicious comfort food warms the soul

  • I love comfort food and I am not afraid to admit it. I would take a delicious, simple comfort food meal over gourmet cuisine any day. One of my favorite types of comfort food is the starchy variety. There are few things in this world more comforting than a plate full of carbs. This week, I’m sharing three rich and delicious starchy dishes.
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  • I love comfort food and I am not afraid to admit it. I would take a delicious, simple comfort food meal over gourmet cuisine any day. One of my favorite types of comfort food is the starchy variety. There are few things in this world more comforting than a plate full of carbs. This week, I’m sharing three rich and delicious starchy dishes.
    Last week, I came home and told my roommates that I was making shrimp and grits for dinner. Both of them seemed confused about what exactly that was. I knew shrimp and grits is a southern thing, but I thought more people knew about it. I apparently was mistaken.
    Shrimp and grits is a bed of creamy, cheesy grits, topped with sautéed shrimp. I like my shrimp to have a little heat and I throw in some bacon for good measure. Oddly enough, in the Carolinas, where this dish originates, it’s served as a breakfast food, but I tend to serve it for dinner.
    Another of my favorite starchy southern comfort foods is macaroni and cheese. I make many different kinds of macaroni and cheese, but the classic version with cheese sauce, noodles and sharp cheddar topped with bread crumbs is my go to. Mac and cheese makes a perfect side dish because it’s quick and easy to whip up. There’s no need to depend on the blue box stuff when you can make it at home.
    Mashed potatoes are another classic comfort dish, but regular mashed potatoes can be a little boring, which is why they need gravy. Garlic mashed potatoes, however, are perfect all on their own. I know there are lots of garlic mashed potato recipes that will tell you to roast a head of garlic but I learned a method from my aunt that I like better, which is to infuse the half-and-half and butter with garlic. This gives the potatoes a nice, even garlic flavor.
    I hope these three dishes can bring you some comfort in the form of starchy deliciousness.
     
    To contact Sarah Barban email her at sarah.barban@doverpost.com .
     
    Shrimp and Grits
    3/4 cups coarse corn meal
    2 1/4 cups half and half, divided
    2 cups chicken broth
    2 tablespoons butter
    2 cups cheddar cheese
    4 slices of bacon
    Half an onion, diced
    1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
    1 tablespoon Old Bay
     
    To prepare the grits, heat the stock and two cups of half-and-half in a medium sauce pan over medium heat until it begins to boil. While whisking, slowly sprinkle in the cornmeal. If you go too fast, you’ll end up with lumps, so be patient. Reduce the mixture to a simmer and cook, stirring frequently, for 20 minutes. Then add in the butter and cheese and stir to combine. While the grits are cooking, cut the bacon into small pieces and then sauté them with the onion in a medium skillet until the onions are softened and the bacon is almost crisp. Add the shrimp to the pan and cook about two to three minutes or until they turn pink. Add in the Old Bay and remaining half-and-half, and stir to coat. Serve the shrimp over a bed of grits Serves 4.
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    Macaroni and Cheese
    1 pound elbow macaroni
    6 tablespoons butter, divided
    4 tablespoons flour
    2 cups milk
    2 cups cheddar cheese, grated
    1/2 cup breadcrumbs
     
    Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cook the macaroni per the box’s instructions. Melt four tablespoons of butter over medium low heat in a medium sauce pan. Once the butter is melted, whisk in the flour and continue to whisk for an additional minute. Whisk the mixture until its thick enough that the whisk leaves traces in the sauce. Whisk in the cheddar, reserving a quarter of the cheese. Combine the noodles and sauce, and then pour them into a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Top with the remaining cheese. Melt two tablespoons of butter in a small skillet and toss with the bread crumbs. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs over the macaroni and cheese and bake for 30 minutes. Serves 8.
     
    Garlic Mashed Potatoes
    4 medium redskin potatoes
    1/2 stick butter
    4 cloves garlic
    1/2 cup half and half
     
    Peel and cube the potatoes. Place the potatoes in a 4-quart pot and fill the pot with water. Bring the potatoes to a boil over high heat and then reduce the heat to medium high. Boil about 20 minutes or until they’re fork tender. While the potatoes boil, melt the butter in a small sauce pan, add the garlic and half-and-half. Warm the mixture over low heat until the potatoes are done. Drain the potatoes and then return them to the pot. Add in the sauce mixture and mash the potatoes with a hand masher or an electric mixer. Serves 6.

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