Wholesome Cook
Birthday + Entertaining

Southern-style Prawns with Grits

It’s funny how things sometimes fall into place. Just the other day I was smitten by Katherine’s recipe for Shrimp with Redeye Gravy over Cheesy Grit Cakes. The dish just looked too good to pass by eventhough I’m no big fan of grits (aka polenta).

It also happened that I was asked to review a new recipe app America’s Family Recipes ($0.99 for iPhone and iPad) and for the life of me I could not decide which mouth-watering recipe to try – there are over 120! Yes, there is more to American cuisine than burgers and fries.

Would it be the classic pecan pie, or maybe the corn and clam chowder… or wait, the cobb salad or Boston beans? Browsing through numerous tempting recipes with gorgeous pictures to match, I stumbled upon their version of Prawns with Grits. I was drawn to the this Southern gem of a recipe instantly and may I say I love it! It even makes for a great h’ordeuvre as I found out last night – served in those Chinese spoons, delish!

So that’s the verdict on the dish, now what did I think of the app?

The user friendly interface provides a nice introduction to each dish, a little history and tasting notes. The rest is a breeze too. Clearly laid out ingredient list with an option to add items to a shopping list which then can be printed straight from the app and cooking instructions are well-worded and easy to follow.

For those of you into baking, there is even a timer attached to the instructions but I found it to be a little useless when on mute and annoying when the volume is turned up – you’re either going to hear nothing, or every second tick before the timer’s “ding” goes off. On the upside, though, the option to have the measurements listed in imperial and metric is most helpful for cross-country cooking. And you can share recipes with friends via email or Facebook (perhaps Twitter would be useful too?).

All in all, it really is a nifty little app for anyone wanting to try a few more authentic American dishes. Now if you excuse me, pecan pie beckons…

Wholesome Cook received a copy of the app for free, courtesy of Parragon Books Ltd.

Serves 4

Southern style prawns with grits

Adapted from America’s Family Recipes app by Parragon Books. To lighten up the dish a little, I used smoked cooked pork neck – it’s like bacon only a lot less fatty, and added 1 cup arrabiatta pasta sauce instead of stock (it’s nice and spicy). If you are unable to find fresh jalapenos, use green long chilli instead. To make grits (polenta) I used full cream milk instead of water and butter.

{Printable recipe}

For the prawns:

  • 450g large raw prawns, peeled and deveined
  • 1/2 tsp Cajun seasoning (choose MSG free)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • pinch of cayenne pepper

For the sauce:

  • 100g cooked pork neck //or rasher bacon, cut into 1cm chunks
  • 1 cup arrabiata sauce
  • 2 tbsp cream
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • 2 spring onions, finely chopped
  • 1 jalapeno chilli // or green long chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp freshly chopped parsley (+extra)

For the grits (polenta):

  • 3/4 cup instant grits (polenta), cooked according to packet instructions

To prepare the prawns: place prawns, Cajun seasoning, salt, black and cayenne pepper in a bowl. Mix thoroughly and set aside.

To make the sauce: add pork neck or bacon to a large fry pan and cook on medium heat until most of the fat has melted away and the bits are lightly browned. Transfer to a bowl using a slotted spoon and add cream, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce and arrabiata sauce.

Return the pork pan back to the heat and when it’s starting to smoke lightly, add the prawns, spreading into a single layer. Cook for about 1 minute on each side, then turn over using tongs. Reduce heat to medium and add the garlic, spring onions, chilli and cook, stirring, for another minute. Add the sauce mixture and allow it to heat through. Remove from heat and stir through the parsley.

To serve: divide cooked grits between 4 serving plates and top with Southern prawn sauce. Sprinkle with extra chopped parsley if you wish.


Laura (starloz) February 24, 2012 at 12:26 pm

i had no idea that grits was just polenta, how fantastic?

great shots babe, love the new camera.

Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide February 24, 2012 at 12:28 pm

South Carolina, hey? You learn something new every day. I know they love it in NOLA and pretty much everywhere else in the South. So great you were inspired. (Katherine will be thrilled.) Your recipe looks wonderful.

sara (Belly Rumbles) February 24, 2012 at 1:04 pm

A truly delicious recipe. I remember the first time i found out that polenta was grits, I had grander ideas of what American grits were, so disappointed, lol.

Julie February 24, 2012 at 3:33 pm

whoa like Laura I didn’t really polenta was grits! I was thinking where am I going to find grits in Aussie. Glad you post this review :)

frugalfeeding February 24, 2012 at 7:52 pm

Oh, is grits polenta? I didn’t now that… why are Americans so funny about using the real words? :D.

Three-Cookies February 24, 2012 at 9:19 pm

The apps concept is interesting, I have never used it. And I have also never heard of smoked cooked pork neck. I’ve eaten lamb necks and its a nice cut of meat, flavourful. Can imagine pork being delicious

Maureen February 25, 2012 at 12:51 am

I wish I could get used to phone apps :) I buy them and they sit there looking pretty.

FrugalFeeding: Polenta is an Italian word, the Americans (and the rest of us) just borrowed it.

Polenta is slow cooked corn meal and grits are processed in a much different way. Rather than using ground corn as in polenta, they soak the dry corn kernels in baking soda, wood ash or lime for a couple of days til the covering comes off and the kernels swell up. Then they rinse it, dry it and grind it up.

Wholesome Cook February 25, 2012 at 9:42 am

Great insight into the difference between polenta and grits Maureen! I doubt we could find grits here in Sydney though, so polenta is the closest substitute we have.

Courtney February 25, 2012 at 4:11 am

I need to get myself a smart phone – and some prawns to make this. Looks absolutely delicious.

filingawaycupcakes February 25, 2012 at 4:27 am

Your shrimp look so plump and fresh!

Bam's Kitchen February 25, 2012 at 1:46 pm

Here is some good ole southern cooking. Your photos are just stunning and I love your new water mark! I am still stuck in the dark ages with my “blackberry phone” with such a small screen that apps would just be fruitless. I think I need to convert! BAM

rsmacaalay February 26, 2012 at 6:43 pm

Very nice recipe! I would love this with anything grits, rice, bread, pasta or quinoa!

Clare Cooks! February 27, 2012 at 3:46 am

I love the sound of the spicy sauce!

Hotly Spiced February 28, 2012 at 1:06 pm

I always wondered what ‘grits’ are. Now I know it’s polenta! That’s a beautiful looking family meal.

Purely.. Kay March 1, 2012 at 9:14 am

I’m trying to figure out, how I almost missed this post lol. I LOVE grits, as I am southern by default lol. And Those prawns just look amazing. You have outdone yourself with this dish.

Heidi - Apples Under My Bed March 1, 2012 at 8:20 pm

yay, love this! Grits goodness :) So my kind of food. And now the weather has turned to winter here in Melb, it’s perfect!
Heidi xo


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