When I made this at my friend Nikki’s soul food restaurant, she named it ‘rich grits’ because she thought prawns were getting a bit pricey to be included in a dish during a recession. In my defence – if you live somewhere like Savannah, which is near the coast, you should be able to get prawns at a pretty fair price. Grits are a delicious base for all sorts of wonderful things in Southern cooking, and their buttery, cheesy texture and the lightly spiced sausages and prawns make a fantastic combo.
Bring a litre of water to the boil in a large pan. Pour in your grits or cornmeal and cook according to the packet instructions. If you’re using polenta, check the packet to make sure the ratio of water to polenta is the same. Be sure to stand over the pan and stir constantly to make sure there are no lumps and it doesn’t catch. When your grits are ready, add the butter and grated cheese, and stir and beat in really well. Have a taste and add some seasoning to the point where it’s delicious. Pop the lid on the pan to keep the grits warm while you crack on.
Get a large frying pan on a medium heat. Squeeze the sausages out of their skins bit by bit and roll the meat into little 2cm balls. Don’t go getting fancy, just pack them into roundish shapes. Once you’ve done that with all your sausages, turn the heat up under the pan and add the meatballs to the pan with a few lugs of olive oil.
Shake the pan every now and then, and after 4 or 5 minutes the meatballs should be looking gorgeous all over. Add your prawns and chopped garlic and sprinkle in your smoked paprika. Give everything a good shake and within about 2 minutes the prawns will be perfectly cooked, so add a knob of butter and cook for another minute or two, shaking and stirring every 10 seconds or so. Take the pan off the heat, squeeze in the juice of your lemon, add your chopped parsley and season to taste with a pinch of salt and pepper.
Let everything mix together, and stir around to pick up any flavours from the bottom of the pan. Have a taste and check you’re happy with it. Stir a splash of boiling water into your grits to bring them back to life, and divide between your plates. Spoon over the lovely meat and prawns, drizzle over any leftover juices and serve right away. So easy!