From the menu of … Local Republic, 225 W. Crogan St., Lawrenceville; 678-205-4782; www.thelocalrepublic.com
Q, My husband and I are in love with Local Republic in downtown Lawrenceville. While all the dishes we have tried have been delicious, our hands-down favorite is their shrimp and grits. Any chance they would be willing to share their recipe? We would be forever grateful!
Sharon Johnson, Snellville
A. Chef Scott Smith sent us this recipe originally created by Beth Bailey who owns Local Republic with her husband Ben. They also own The Georgia Pine in the Shoppes at Webb Gin.
Smith told us this dish has been on the menu since the restaurant first opened. “It is for sure one of the most popular dishes. Beth and I took her recipe and made it large scale for the restaurant application. Customers love it because it is comfort food and we take a lot of pride in our ingredients.”
One surprise may be that the “grits” in this dish are really polenta since they’re made with cornmeal and not grits, a more coarsely ground form of dried corn. This cornmeal mixture cooks up in just a few minutes, making it a creamy and quick substitute for traditional grits.
One component that remains a secret is the formula for the house-made pimento cheese. That’s one recipe the restaurant wouldn’t share. Just use your favorite.
Is there a recipe from a metro Atlanta restaurant you’d like to make at home? Tell us and we’ll try to get it. We’ll also test it and adapt it for the home kitchen. Because of volume, we can’t answer all inquiries. Send your request, your address and phone number to email@example.com and put “From the menu of” and the name of restaurant in the subject line.
Local Republic’s Shrimp and “Grits”
Hands on: 20 minutes
Total time: 20 minutes
At the restaurant, the tails are kept on the shrimp which chef Scott Smith says adds flavor to the dish. Smith suggests substituting cayenne for the paprika in the garnish if you want to up the heat, and says a cold beer is the perfect accompaniment.
1/4 pound andouille sausage, sliced lengthwise and cut into 1/4-inch half moons
1/3 cup diced yellow onion
1/3 cup diced celery
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
2 bay leaves
3 cups chicken stock
2 cups heavy cream
2 cups water
1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more for seasoning
1/4 teaspoon pepper, plus more for seasoning
1 1/4 cup white cornmeal
1/3 cup pimento cheese
1 1/2 pounds peeled and deveined shrimp
3 tablespoons 1/4-inch slices green onion
1/4 teaspoon paprika
In a large skillet, brown sausage over medium heat for about 5 minutes, taking care to turn and keep sausage from burning. Stir in onion and celery and cook until vegetables are translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in flour and thyme, then add bay leaves and cook 1 minute. Add stock and stir constantly to make a smooth sauce, about 5 minutes.
While sauce is cooking, make “grits.” In a medium saucepan, combine cream and water and bring to a boil. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Slowly whisk in cornmeal and keep whisking until mixture thickens, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and fold in pimento cheese. Cover and keep warm.
Once sauce is smooth, add shrimp and simmer until just cooked through, 4 to 6 minutes depending on the size of the shrimp.
When shrimp is cooked, divide “grits” between four serving dishes and use the back of the spoon to create a crater in the cornmeal. Divide shrimp and sausage between the four serving dishes. Sprinkle with green onions and shake paprika around the rim of the dish. Serve immediately.
Per serving: 948 calories (percent of calories from fat, 59), 55 grams protein, 45 grams carbohydrates, 4 grams fiber, 64 grams fat (34 grams saturated), 450 milligrams cholesterol, 932 milligrams sodium.
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