KC Restaurant Week 2020 Recipe: Smoke Brewing Co.’s Jumbo Shrimp with Fried Polenta Cakes in Cajun Cream Sauce

Restaurant Week 2020 is happening, kids! Get out and enjoy all those local restaurants you’ve been dying to try. Over 218 eateries have killer lunch and dinner specials with pricing that won’t break the bank.


To celebrate the week accordingly, we’ve scoped out some of our fave dishes you simply must try. Even better? We hit up a few of the restaurants’ respective chefs for their to-die-for recipes. Next up, Smoke Brewing Co’s executive chef Robert Davis has a decadent, flavor-filled shrimp-tastic entrée that will leave you with just enough room for dessert.

Jumbo Shrimp with Fried Polenta Cakes in Cajun Cream Sauce

Parmesan Polenta

32 ounces water
3 ounces vegetable or chicken base
7 ounces cornmeal, fine ground
2/3 cups parmesan cheese, grated
1 teaspoon black pepper, coarsely ground

In a one- or two-gallon pot, bring water and base mixture to a slow boil. Slowly stream corn meal into stock while continuously stirring mixture with whisk. Reduce heat to low and stir until mixture thickens to a paste-like consistency. Add parmesan cheese and black pepper.

Pour mixture onto a 12-inch x 12-inch baking tray or one large enough to create 1-inch thickness to the polenta. Put into refrigerator and let cool for 40 to 60 minutes.

Shrimp Stock:
Shrimp shells (from sauce recipe below)
1 yellow onion, medium size, chopped
1 cup dehydrated celery
1/2 cup fennel, chopped
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 quart cold water
Salt to taste

Place onions, celery, fennel, shrimp shells and oil in a medium-sized saucepan. Sauté for 10 minutes over medium to medium-high heat. Add cold water and bring to a simmer. Let simmer for 30-40 minutes. Skim off any oil or impurities during this time. Salt to taste and then strain through a fine mesh strainer and keep the stock.

Cajun Shrimp Sauce:
1 pound 16/20 shrimp with shells on
1 teaspoon shallots, finely minced
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning
1 cup shrimp stock (see above)
1 ounce cold butter, unsalted
1 ounce heavy cream
1/2 ounce fresh parsley


Peel the shrimp and keep the shells for the stock recipe. In a large sauté pan, add butter and shallots. Sauté over medium heat for 3-4 minutes and then add shrimp and Cajun seasoning. Cook shrimp to al dente, remove from pan, and then deglaze the pan with the white wine. Reduce the wine by half and then add shrimp stock (from recipe above) and reduce again to half. Once sauce has a nice consistency, add a pad or two of butter. Reduce the heat to low. Add a touch of heavy cream to stabilize the sauce and then add the fresh parsley.

Finished dish:

In a sauté pan, fill 2-3 inches of non-flavored oil and heat to 350 degrees. Depending on the stove, medium to medium-high heat should achieve this. Take polenta out of the fridge and using a cookie cutter (of any shape), punch out molds of the polenta to approximately 1-inch thick. Fry the polenta shapes in the oil until crispy and golden brown. Arrange the polenta cakes on a plate. Place the shrimp on top of the polenta cakes and spoon sauce over it all. Garnish with fresh chopped parsley—and enjoy!

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