We headed south tonight, and on a muggy Iowa day shrimp and grits with sweet potato pie hit the spot. Our CSA had a bumper crop of sweet potatoes this year, and over the past two weekends I baked, mashed and froze 10 cups. No one in our house is a huge fan, though Marc and I like an occasional sweet potato hash. The frozen, mashed potatoes will go well in quick breads and, of course, sweet potato pie.
I had never made (or eaten) sweet potato pie before. The internet, not surprisingly, abounds with recipes. I settled mostly on this one. I also added orange zest, which several other sites recommended. The filling would be easy to whip up by hand, but I used my mixer to ensure a nice, smooth texture.
After beating all the filling ingredients together, I stirred in the last three tablespoons of flour by hand.
The crust is a basic recipe: cut 1/3 cup butter into 1 cup flour and a pinch of salt. Use enough ice water to bring the dough together and press into a disk. Refrigerate while you make the filling, then roll out and press into pan.
The texture was lighter and more even than I usually get with pumpkin.
Now...on to the dinner! I'm sorry to say that I had to use quick grits (apologies to all our southern friends) but they just don't sell "real" grits in Iowa City.
Marc made chicken stock in the morning, and I used that for both the shrimp and the grits. For the shrimp, I mostly followed Tyler Florence's recipe, though I used bacon rather than sausage.
Add 2 tablespoons flour, stirring constantly to make a roux and then slowly add 2 cups of chicken stock. Keep stirring until it comes to a simmer and begins to thicken. Then, add a bay leaf, salt, pepper and the shrimp.
Simmer until the shrimp are cooked through (about five minutes).
It was a pleasure to sit down to a new "blog meal"! Everyone found something to like. Both kids enjoyed the shrimp, Lucy "loved!" the grits but did not enjoy the gravy. Maia declared the gravy "ok" but did not like the grits at all.
Marc and I enjoyed every bite. Those southerners know how to cook.
Oh, the pie?
One of the best I've ever made, if I do say so myself!
Next stop: Arizona.