Shrimp and Grits is my all-time favorite Southern dish. Maybe it's because most others are fried or clobbered in mayonnaise, and this is a fresh sauté of veggies atop a cheesy, creamy grits. The dish combines wonderful summery foods: fresh shrimp, mushrooms, green peppers, garlic, and green onions, along with a bit of bacon for signature Southern flavor. Remembering the taste of the dish makes me day dream of eating it in sunshine while sipping a mimosa with good company.
I've had quite a few restaurant versions, but this homemade one wins for taste, hands-down. The recipe came from a Chapel Hill, NC, establishment via the kitchens of Southern Living.
Shrimp and Grits
2 bacon slices
1 pound unpeeled, medium-size raw shrimp
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
1 green pepper, chopped into large 2-inch strips
2 teaspoons canola oil
1/2 cup chopped green onions
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup low-sodium, fat-free chicken broth
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon hot sauce
1. Cook bacon in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat 10 minutes or until crisp; remove bacon, and drain on paper towels, reserving 1 tsp. drippings in skillet. Crumble bacon.
2. Peel shrimp; devein, if desired. Sprinkle shrimp with salt and pepper; dredge in flour.
3. Sauté mushrooms and green pepper in hot drippings with oil in skillet 5 minutes or until tender. Add green onions, and sauté 2 minutes. Add shrimp and garlic, and sauté 2 minutes or until shrimp are lightly browned. Stir in chicken broth, lemon juice, and hot sauce, and cook 2 more minutes, stirring to loosen particles from bottom of skillet. Spoon shrimp mixture over hot Cheese Grits; sprinkle with crumbled bacon.
*I cooked 1 cup of regular stone-ground grits in 1 cup chicken stock and 1 cup water, following package instructions, and added salt and cheese at the end.