Shrimp and Grits

Dear Boys,

From summertime al fresco fare to cold weather comfort food, shrimp and grits has what it takes.  Two kinds of meat (if you count the bacon garnish, which we do) and lots of creamy, cheesy goodness make this dish an easy favorite.

It is great for company, as the recipe is easily multiplied.

This version is based on  a Southern Living recipe.  Who can go wrong with their cooking instruction?

Here’s how you make it:

Cook 6 slices of bacon according to the directions here.  Go ahead and start the shrimp while the bacon is cooking.

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Place 1 pound of raw shrimp in a colander and rinse.  I used little, bitty salad shrimp, because it’s what I had on hand, but you could use any size.

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Sprinkle shrimp with salt and pepper.

Check your bacon.  If it’s cooked, set aside for later.

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Pour 1/4 cup all-purpose flour in a bowl and stir the shrimp into it.

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Keep stirring until shrimp are well coated.

Set this bowl aside for a bit while you work on the veggies.

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Slice enough mushrooms to make 1 cup.  (I went a little over since Dad likes them a lot.)

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Mince 2 garlic cloves.

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Cut the ends off the green onions.

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Chop enough to make 1/2 cup.

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Pour the grease from the bacon you cooked earlier into a large iron skillet.  Turn heat on medium.

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When bacon grease is hot, add the mushrooms and saute 5 minutes or until tender.

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Add the green onions and saute 2 minutes more.

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Add the shrimp and garlic and saute until shrimp are lightly browned.  Most likely, some things will start sticking to the skillet.  Don’t let them burn, but don’t get too alarmed about it.  You’ll take care of this soon.

(While you get the next three ingredients ready, you can turn off the shrimp.  Or, if you are a planner, you can prepare the broth, juice and hot sauce in advance so that it will be ready when you need it.  I guess I’m not a planner . . .)

Next you will need 1 cup chicken broth.  Broth can be saved when boiling chicken for a recipe.  I usually grill or bake chicken, so I don’t have this available.  Broth can also be bought in a can.

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I keep bouillon on hand and make broth as needed.  If you have the cubes, it takes one cube per cup of broth.  If you have the granules, you’ll need 1 teaspoon of them for every cup of broth.  Heat this in a pan to dissolve the bouillon.

You also need 2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice.

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Cut a lemon in half and remove any seeds you can see.

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Squeeze the lemon until you have 2Tbsp. of juice.  It may take more than one, depending on the size of your lemons.

Add the lemon juice to the chicken broth.

Add 1/4 tsp. hot sauce to this mixture.

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Stir this into the shrimp mixture.

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Now for the food stuck to the skillet . . .when you scrape the skillet with a spatula, the liquid will loosen any shrimp and flour particles from the bottom.

Cook 2 minutes or until thickened and then turn off the burner while you make the grits.  You can cover the skillet with a lid to keep it hot if you want or you can reheat it for a minute after making the grits.

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You’ll need more chicken broth for the grits.  Heat in a large pan 3 cups water and 3 tsp. chicken bouillon (or 3 cubes).

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When the bouillon is dissolved, add 2 cups milk and 1 tsp. salt.  Bring to a boil.

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Measure 2 cups quick-cooking grits.

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Gradually whisk in grits to boiling broth/milk mixture.

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Turn heat to very low and simmer.  Be sure to stir the grits occasionally so they don’t stick.

Chat with the hungry boys who gather in your kitchen.

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In between stirring, you can grate the cheeses if they aren’t already grated.

You’ll need 1 and 1/2 cup sharp Cheddar cheese and 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese.  (Note:  If you have to, you could get away with using the powdered Parmesan in the green can right here.  If you go for the block and grate it, however, you’ll not regret it.  Trust me on this.)

Check your grits.  It will take about 10 minutes for them to thicken.

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When they have absorbed the liquid, stir the cheeses into the grits.

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Keep stirring until they are melted.

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Spoon cheesy grits into a bowl.  Ladle shrimp mixture on top and garnish with crumbled bacon.

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Serve with salad, and you have a meal that any guest would enjoy.

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I sure enjoyed it with y’all!

I love you,

Mom

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