Tuesday, August 9, 2011

"What's a Spurtle?" she asked...

"I'm not exactly sure," I yelled downstairs.  Fact is, I was hurriedly typing into the Google search window hoping an answer popped up before my wife, who was ascending the staircase, and I made eye contact.  (Hey, when it comes to food, I do not like getting caught flat-footed in front of my family.)  But I was busted.  I didn't know a spurtle from a spurge.  So my wife and I searched together, and here's what we found on Wikipedia:

The spurtle (or "spirtle") is a Scots kitchen tool (about 11-inch long), dating from at least the fifteenth century. It was originally a flat, wooden, spatula-like utensil, used for flipping oatcakes on a hot griddle.

Over time, the original implement changed shape and began being used specifically for stirring oatmeal and soups. The rod-like shape is designed for constant stirring which prevents the porridge from congealing and so becoming lumpy and unappetising.[1] It looks like a fat wooden dowel, often with a contoured end to give the user a better grip.

The Annual Golden Spurtle World Porridge-Making Championship, held in Carrbridge each year, invites porridge-makers from across the globe to compete for the "Golden Spurtle".

Yep, I was about to throw my recipe into the mix for a chance to bring home the 2011 "Golden Spurtle."  Quick fact: I'm a pretty fanatical oatmeal fan.  Whether rolled, stone-ground, or steel-cut, I know my way around an oat.  I eat 'em sweet or savory—morning, noon, or night—makes no difference to me.

So when I saw that Bob's Red Mill was holding a "Spar for the Spurtle" contest, I had to get in on the action. The grand prize is the opportunity to compete in this year's Golden Spurtle World Porridge-Making Championship in Scotland.

I wanted to keep it savory and Southern, so I went with a Southern spin on shrimp and grits using steel-cut oats in place of stone-ground grits. One taste and y'all will see that the Southern elements in my recipe—andouille sausage, fresh Gulf shrimp, and hot sauce—blend and harmonize perfectly with this cheesy, kicked-up "porridge."

One of the contest requirements was to create a 3-minute video of the recipe...so I did my best, wearing my Billy Reid "Make Cornbread Not War" T-shirt for inspiration.

Here's the recipe:

Southern Shrimp & Oatmeal 

1 1/2 cups water
1 1/2 cups fat-free, low-sodium chicken broth
3/4 tsp. salt
1 cup Bob's Red Mill Steel Cut Oats
1 cup shredded Colby Jack cheese
1 Tbsp. butter
1/4 tsp. hot sauce
1/2 cup chopped andouille sausage
1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 pound large Gulf shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 Tbsp. Wondra flour
1 cup sliced mushrooms
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp. hot sauce 
2 tsp. chopped fresh thyme
2 Tbsp. chopped green onion
1/4 cup chopped tomato
1 Tbsp. butter

Bring first 3 ingredients to a boil in a medium saucepan; gradually whisk in oats.  Reduce heat, and simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, 20 minutes or until thickened.  Stir in cheese, butter, and hot sauce.  Keep warm.

Cook sausage in hot oil in a large skillet 5 to 7 minutes or until crisp.  Drain on paper towels, reserving drippings in skillet.  Set sausage aside.

Toss shrimp with flour.  Sauté shrimp in hot drippings 1 minute.  Add reserved sausage, mushrooms, garlic, and cook 1 minute.  Stir in lemon juice, hot sauce, thyme, green onion, and tomato, stirring to loosen any browned bits from bottom of skillet.  Remove from heat, and stir in butter.

Serve shrimp mixture over hot oatmeal.

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1 comment:

  1. I am totally going to have to try this! What can I say ... I'm a northerner by birth, so I'm SOOOO much more an oat girl than grits. (will that get me kicked outta 'Bama?)