“Welcome to Psychedelicatessen, a weekly column exploring the world of cannabis cuisine, including recipes from the great chefs and ganjapreneurs who fuel our appetite for adventure.”
Cannabis chefs love classic American comfort food, which is easy to understand because the effects of a relaxing, cozy edible high brings comfort and contentment to people. Loosely defined as food that evokes nostalgic memories, comfort food includes dishes like mac n’ cheese, meatloaf and mashed potatoes—all of which lend themselves to being infused with cannabis due to the high fat content.
Raised on this type of fare, Chef Esteban from Crowned Catering relishes adding cannabis to his favorite family recipes. A recent arrival to Los Angeles from Chicago, Esteban traveled the world as a young Army brat, sampling traditional cuisine from diverse locations and learning to cook for his large family.
“I lived in Germany for a time, so I grew up on schnitzel which I consider a comfort food,” Esteban shared. “It’s food that draws up emotions, and while it’s not always the healthiest, we focus on being unapologetically comforting.”
After getting some culinary education at Washburn Culinary Institute in Chicago, Esteban decided to pursue his dreams in L.A. after reading about other chefs integrating marijuana into their meals. Currently running a mainstream catering company, Esteban is working to launch a cannabis catering business in 2017 that will provide medicated meals.
“I only add about 10 mg of THC per item,” the chef remarked. “I want a little bit of punch so that you feel the THC and taste the cannabis infused with the food.”
About this Sativa Shrimp & Ganja Grits recipe, Esteban said: “It’s my grandmother’s recipe, and it’s versatile in how you can add the cannabis.” Add infused butter or oil to the shrimp itself or add the cannabutter to the grits, or do both!
“Cannabis flavor can be a little overpowering in the grits but adds an earthy flavor to the shrimp, especially with paprika and the garlic spices,” Esteban said, and this recipe is so succulent and savory that you’ll definitely want a second helping, so keep that in mind when you design your THC dose.
Chef Esteban’s Sativa Shrimp & Ganja Grits
- 2 cups water
- 2 cups chicken stock
- Salt and pepper
- 1 cup stone-ground grits
- 3 tablespoons cannabutter
- 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- 1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 6 slices bacon, chopped
- 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
- 1 cup thinly sliced scallions
- 1 large clove garlic, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes
- Garlic powder
Combine water and stock and bring to a boil. Add salt and pepper. Add grits and cook until water is absorbed, about 20 to 25 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and stir in the cannabutter and shredded cheese.
Rinse shrimp with water and pat dry with a napkin. Season shrimp with salt and pepper, red chili flakes, and garlic powder. Fry the bacon in a large skillet until browned, then add the garlic, being very careful not to burn the garlic. Remove the bacon from the pan, leaving the grease, and add the shrimp. Cook shrimp until tender, just a minute or two. Add the chopped bacon, parsley, scallions and garlic to the pan. Sauté for 3 minutes. (If desired, add a half-tablespoon of cannabis-infused olive oil to the shrimp.)
Spoon grits into a serving bowl. Add shrimp mixture on top. Serve immediately.