This combination of creamy, cheesy grits, the spice of the Cajun shrimp and the bacon crumble topping adds a whole new flavor level to a Southern staple.
Note: I think using the shrimp stock to cook the grits makes this dish pop, but if you don’t have the time to make the shrimp stock, just substitute vegetable broth.
2 tablespoons canola oil
3 cups shrimp shell and tails
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
1 small carrot, coarsely chopped
small celery stalk, coarsely chopped
½ cup diced canned tomatoes
1 bay leaf
8 black peppercorns
1 teaspoon vegetable base
- Heat the oil in a large saucepan over high heat.
- Add the shrimp shells and tails, onion, carrot, and celery, and sauté, stirring, for 5 minutes.
- Add 4 cups cold water, the tomato, bay leaf, peppercorns and vegetable base.
- Heat to boiling and then reduce heat and simmer for 40 minutes.
- Strain the stock through a fine strainer into a bowl.
- Add water to equal 3 cups, if needed.
3 tablespoons Amish Country rolled butter, salted (preferred brand)
3 cups shrimp stock (or substitute vegetable broth)
1 ½ cups quick-cooking (not instant) grits, such as Quaker
1 tablespoon juice from diced tomatoes
1 ½ cups milk
½ cup (4 oz) sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded
1 cup jalapeno jack cheese, shredded
salt (as needed)
To cook the grits:
Combine the butter and the stock in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Slowly whisk in the grits and simmer, whisking frequently for 5 minutes. Add the tomato juice, milk and cheese. Keep stirring till blended and the grits look thickened and creamy. Taste and adjust seasonings.
1 tablespon Cajun seasoning (I like Emeril’s Cajun seasoning blend.)
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
Ground black pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 pound medium sized (26-30 count) shrimp, frozen, cooked.
- Take them out of the freezer, put in a strainer, and spray with cold water for 5 minutes till thawed.
- You will have to take the tails off. I save these tails for the next batch of shrimp stock.
- The shrimp end up being too “wet” at this point. Give each a little squeeze and dry them off a bit in a frying pan (no oil, just dry), maybe 5 minutes.
- You are ready to cook the shrimp-see below.
To cook the shrimp
Combine the Cajun seasoning, paprika, Italian seasoning, and pepper in a large bowl. Add the shrimp to the bowl and stir to coat evenly. Melt the butter in a 12 inch-skillet over medium heat. Add the minced garlic and stir for 30 seconds. Be careful not to burn the garlic. Add the shrimp and cook until heated through.
½ pound thick slice Oscar Meyer original bacon, cut in ¼ inch lardons, cooked on low to a medium crispness. Use a slotted spoon to scoop the cooked bacon bits onto a paper towel-lined plate.
Scoop some grits onto your plate. Top the grits with 8 shrimp. Sprinkle one-fourth of the bacon crumble on top and enjoy.
Makes 4 servings.
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