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Home > Recipes > Shrimp Recipes > Grandma Keith’s Spicy Shrimp and Polenta
  • 2 lb Fresh, large shrimp
  • 4 leek, white part only, sliced
  • 2 Sticks Butter
  • 1 Tbsp Chilli Powder
  • 1 Tbsp Paprika
  • 1 1/2 tsp Basil
  • 2 1/4 tsp Oregano
  • 1 1/2 tsp Freshly ground pepper
  • 1 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp Thyme
  • 1/2 tsp Ground Garlic
  • 1/2 tsp Old Bay seasoning
  • 1 1/2 Cups Clam Juice
  • 1 1/2 Cups Tomato Juice
  • 1 Cup Half and Half
  • 1/4 Cup Flour
  • 8 oz Capicola Ham, sliced /2 inch thick at deli and cubed
  • 2 Scallions
  • 1 L Whole Milk
  • 1 Cup Polenta
  • 1 1/2 Cups Ground Parmesian
  • 1 Cup Heavy Cream
  • 1/4 Cup Butter
  1. Peel and de-vein shrimp. Wash and pat dry.
  2. Add 2 tbsp butter and leeks to large pan. Cook gently until soft, 4 mins.
  3. Add all spices to pan and mix thoroughly. Heat briefly to release flavor. Add tomato and clam juices and simmer over low heat for 10 min.
  4. Add Half and Half and simmer another 10 min.
  5. Meanwhile, melt 4 tbsp butter in small pan and slowly add flour to form roux.
  6. Add roux and ham to gravy and stir vigorously until mixed. Reduce heat to keep warm and let gravy thicken.
  7. In another pan, melt 2 tbsp butter and sauté shrimp until cooked through. Spoon shrimp into gravy mix.
  8. To make polenta, warm milk in a pot til it just begins to simmer. Add polenta gradually while stirring. Continue to whisk until polenta thickens completely. Add cream, butter and parmigiana and combine. Salt and pepper to taste. Cooking time for polenta is approximately 20 mins.
  9. Spoon Polenta into a flat bowl, top with gravy and garnish with scallion greens.
  10. If you are a fennel fan, replace leek with 2 fennel bulbs sliced, add 1 tsp toasted and ground fennel seed to spices and garnish dish with chopped fronds.
  11. As made, this is a medium spicy dish. Cut back on paprika, chili powder, pepper and ham if you want to tone it down.
  12. Dish pairs well with mildly Oakes Chardonnay.
Recipe courtesy of
Keith Sievers, thanks Keith!