Creole Shrimp & Grits with Bacon Gravy

Shrimp and Grits with Bacon Gravy

Well slap yo Mamma and let da dogs out! Here’s the most incredible shrimp and grits I’ve ever had! And, that’s saying a lot.

You know, living in Texas, I wasn’t raised on shrimp and grits. As a matter of fact, I had never tried them until I was (clearing throat), mature. But, I love shrimp, I love grits and I love bacon. Now, I don’t think bacon is a traditional ingredient in most shrimp and grits, but my motto is, everything’s better with bacon and butter!

I came up with the grits recipe first. I once knew a lady from Memphis and she showed me how to make delicious grits, so I borrowed a few of her ingredients, added some of my own, and well, perfection!

Now, you’re going to tell me you don’t like grits. I get it, I really do! But, I have converted so many grit haters out there, I can’t even begin to count them. My husband was the ultimate grit hater, unlike me who can eat them six ways to Sunday, he was not a fan. This recipe changed all that! Now, he asks for this dish.

Down in the good ‘ol South (notice it’s capitalized), shrimp and grits was a traditional breakfast, brunch and sometimes lunch dish that originated out of necessity like most of the South’s great dishes do.

A true Southerner would call me blasphemous for two reasons; one, I serve this for dinner with a bottle of dry red wine and; two, I use 5 minute grits! Yes I do, I admit it, I do and I’m not ashamed! Remember Mr. Tipton in My Cousin Vinny? “No self-respectin’ Southerner uses instant grits. I take pride in my grits!” Well, I take pride in my grits, too and I technically don’t use instant, I use quick grits. But, if Dixie bans me from her borders, I truly do understand.

Give this a try and tell me what you think!

Creole Shrimp & Grits with Bacon Gravy

Yield: 2 servings

Difficulty: Moderate

 

12 peeled and deveined shrimp with tails on

2 strips of thick cut bacon, diced

2 T finely diced red bell pepper

2 T finely diced green onions

1 T finely diced shallot

2 T unsalted butter

¼ tsp cayenne

¼ tsp smoked paprika

Salt and pepper to taste

Hominy grits (5 minute style)

Milk

Water

 

  • Place diced bacon in a cold iron skillet, turn heat to high and fry until crispy. Remove bacon with a slotted spoon and reserve, but do not drain on paper towels.  You’ll need as much bacon drippings as possible.
  • Add the peppers, onions and shallots to the bacon drippings in the skillet and cook until onions are translucent.
  • Remove half of the vegetable mixture and put in the pot the grits will cook in. Leave the other half in the skillet.
  • Add the reserved bacon and any drippings back into the skillet with the vegetables. Add the butter and melt.
  • Lightly salt and pepper the raw shrimp, then add to the skillet. Turn the shrimp with tongs and cook until pink.  Be careful not to overcook the shrimp; they will be tough. Remove the skillet from heat.
  • While shrimp are cooking, follow package directions for 2 servings of grits. Replace ½ the water called for with milk.  Add the milk and water to the vegetables already in the pot.  Add salt, cayenne and smoked paprika to the milk mixture and taste.  Adjust seasonings if necessary.  It is much easier to adjust seasonings before adding the grits to the pot. Bring contents of the pot to a boil.  Add the grits with a whisk and cook according to package directions.
  • To serve: Place 1 serving of grits in a bowl.  Place 6 shrimp on each serving and drizzle with bacon and vegetable gravy.  It may be necessary to add a little additional butter to the bacon and vegetable mixture before ladling over the shrimp and grits.

 

If you like cheese grits, you can always add 1/3 cup of grated smoked cheddar to the grits while cooking. Just remember, cheese is salty, so adjust the salt accordingly.

Ya’ll enjoy!

Shrimp for shrimp and grits

Nothin’ like cooking shrimp and bacon in an iron skillet!

 

 

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