Southern Shrimp and Grits

Yield 6 people

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adapted from Chef John Currence of City Grocery, Oxford, MS

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup green bell pepper finely chopped
  • 3 cups sliced white mushrooms
  • 1 garlic clove minced
  • 6 slices bacon chopped
  • 1 small onion finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup scallions thinly sliced
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • scallions thinly sliced for garnish
  • 3 tbsp flour
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • hot pepper sauce such as Tabasco (optional)
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 1/2 lbs medium shrimp peeled and deveined
  • 1 lemon juiced
  • 4 cups water
  • 1-2 tbsp unsalted butter cut into tbsp. and softened
  • 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 1/2 cups stone-ground grits

Instructions

  1. Toss the shrimp with the lemon juice and hot pepper sauce in a bowl. Set aside.
  2. Bring the milk, water and 1 teaspoon salt to a boil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Whisk in the grits in a steady stream.
  3. Reduce the heat to very low. Simmer for 35 to 40 minutes or until grits are thick and creamy, stirring frequently.
  4. Add the butter and stir until melted. Add the cheese and several dashes of hot pepper sauce and stir to combine. Cover and keep warm.
  5. Cook the bacon in a large skillet until brown and crisp. Stir in the onion, green pepper, mushrooms and garlic.
  6. Cook over medium heat for 5 minutes or until the vegetables begin to soften. Stir in the scallions and the flour. Cook for 4 minutes.
  7. Stir in the chicken stock and 1 teaspoon salt. Bring to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  8. Add the shrimp and cook for 4 minutes or until shrimp turn pink. Season with salt and pepper.
  9. Spoon the grits into 4 bowls. Spoon the shrimp mixture over the grits. Garnish with scallions.

Notes

This dish is a popular find on menus in South Carolina and Mississippi. No self-respecting Southern chef would use instant grits. We recommend you not use them either.