Chef Bonnie Breaux’s
Shrimp and Grits
Melt 1 tablespoon unsalted butter in a heavy-bottomed Dutch oven over medium heat. Add 1 shallot (finely chopped) and sauté until soft and translucent, about 4 minutes. Add 1 quart chicken stock and 1 quart heavy cream and bring to a boil. Add 2 cups coarse, stone-grind grits, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, and 1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper, stir, reduce heat to low, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until all liquid is absorbed, 30 to 40 minutes. Beat in 8 ounces cream cheese (softened) with a wooden spoon until fully incorporated. Remove from heat, cover and set aside and keep warm.
Melt ¼ pound unsalted butter in a large heavy-bottomed Dutch oven over medium heat. Add ½ medium yellow onion (julienned), ½ medium red onion (julienned), ½ medium red bell pepper (julienned) and ½ green bell pepper (julienned) and sauté until softened, about 8 minutes. Add 3 cups finely chopped smoked Tasso, stir, then add 2 quarts shrimp stock and 2 quarts heavy cream and cook on medium uncovered until mixture is reduced by one third, about 1 hour. Add 1 teaspoon kosher salt, ¼ teaspoon white pepper, ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper, 1 teaspoon Louisiana hot sauce and ¼ teaspoon granulated garlic. Add ½ cup sherry and blend thoroughly. Set aside and keep warm.
Combine 1 tablespoon kosher salt, 1 ½ tablespoons paprika, 1 tablespoon garlic powder, 1 teaspoon dried oregano, 2 tablespoons light brown sugar and 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper. Blend thoroughly, add 3 pounds 21-25 count Gulf shrimp (peeled and deveined), and toss to coat.
Set a cast iron skillet over high heat for five minutes. Working very quickly, add 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, then shrimp. Allow seasoning on the shrimp to blacken, about 90 seconds. Turn shrimp and repeat.
Divide grits among six shallow soup plates. Using a wooden spoon, make a deep impression in the center of the grits. Divide sauce, then shrimp atop the grits. Serve at once.
Chef Bonnie Breaux Executive Chef, Cafe Sydnie Mae - Breaux Bridge, LA
Chef Bonnie Breaux is the Executive Chef at the Café Sydnie Mae in Breaux Bridge, LA.
Bonnie started her culinary career by opening Breaux’s Cajun Catering in Covington, LA. After five years, Bonnie moved back to her hometown and became the Executive Chef of Clementine Dining and Spirits as well as Peltier’s Catering. Bonnie was “discovered” while competing in the World Championship Gumbo Contest and eventually was offered the Executive Chef position at Roux, in Tampa FL, where she prepared Louisiana cuisine for the folks in South Florida. During Bonnie’s tenure at Roux, the restaurant was voted in the Top 50 as well as having her signature dish featured at the 2017 College Football Championship in Tampa and also participated in The James Beard Sunday Supper Tampa Bay event.
Throughout Bonnie’s career, she has been fortunate to experience many culinary opportunities. Recently, Bonnie was chosen as one of the 26 exclusive chefs to prepare a dish for the James Beard Sunday Supper fundraising benefit.
Chef Breaux returned to Louisiana that she loves and brought her expertise to The St. John Restaurant in St Martinville. Chef Bonnie competed in the 2017 Louisiana Seafood Competition and competed against 11 male chefs throughout Louisiana. She won the competition and is the first female chef to win this title. Chef Breaux was also named 2018 Small Town Chef of the year this past July. . Bonnie is now the Executive Chef at Cafe Sydnie Mae where she continues to carry on the tradition of Southern Hospitality.
Bonnie’s time away from the kitchen usually is spending time with her 88-year-old mother or going to see her children and grandchildren in Covington, LA.