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Saturday, February 16, 2013

Shrimp 'n' Grits

This is Valentine's Day dinner at my house :D

In honor of the date, I attempted to make the bacon look like little hearts, a la Pinterest.  Mine came out heartish-shaped rather than heart-shaped.  Here is the pin I worked from. I highly recommend NOT using center cut bacon as it's somewhat shorter than "regular" bacon and you need the length to make the shapes...I screw up so you don't have to.

Note: you do not have to make heartish-shaped bacon snouts to make this dish.

This does not take long to make, but it does help if you prep some elements ahead.  It all freezes pretty well too.  I chose to cook the shrimp in the oven to keep kiddo hands away from hot pans on the stovetop but you could do it on the stovetop (or grill) as well...it will take a pinch less time.

You can also cook your bacon in advance (even in heartish-shaped forms) and fridge it until needed.  Just be sure to save the bacon grease for cooking the shrimp.  If you fridge the cooked bacon, just reheat it lightly in the microwave or put it back in the oven for a few minutes to warm up.

One last note...how much bacon you use is up to you.  You can go with "bacon as seasoning" and use just a couple of slices or you can go with "bacon as major protein" and use a half pound or even a whole pound if you want.  I used a half pound to make 8 heartish-shaped bacon pieces in the oven.  If you're turning on the oven, you might as well make a lot of bacon IMHO.  If you're doing this on the stovetop, less bacon works better.

To make this super-delicious, cook the grits in chicken or seafood stock.  Water is just fine though.  Tips on dealing with stock/broth for freezer kits here.

If you make a freezer kit, you could measure out the dry grits and freeze them (be sure to get all the air out!) but really, grits keep for-eh-ver in the pantry.

Shrimp 'n' Grits
Makes 4 servings

Bacon (see note above about quantity)

1 1/2 lbs. shrimp, shelled
salt and pepper

3/4 cups quick cooking grits
3 cups chicken or seafood stock (optional)
1 cup shredded cheese (whatever you like)
salt and pepper

Chopped parsley (optional)

To make a freezer kit, portion out bacon and wrap it well (make it into wee little hearts if you want).  Wrap shrimp well.  Make sure to have grits, either to freeze or in the pantry.  If using, package stock for freezing.  Wrap cheese well.  Package together and freeze.

To cook, thaw everything.  Heat oven to 400F.  Lay bacon strips (or hearts) on a rimmed sheet.  Bake 10-20 minutes, turning once.  The cooking time depends on thickness of the bacon.  Remove cooked bacon from cookie sheet, leaving bacon grease.  (Alternately, if you precook your bacon and save the grease, place baking sheet in oven as it preheats.  Add bacon grease and heat until it melts.)

Meanwhile bring 3 cups of water to a boil in a medium pot.  Stir in grits.  Lower heat to medium-low.  Stir in grits.  Cook about 5 minutes until thickened.  Stir in cheese until melted.  Season with salt and pepper.

Toss shrimp with salt and pepper to taste.  Lay shrimp in a single layer on baking sheet with bacon grease.  Bake 3-4 minutes per side, until shrimp is pink and cooked through.

To serve, crumble bacon (if you didn't do the heart thing) and stir into grits.  Spoon out grits and pour shrimp over top.  Garnish with chopped parsley if desired. Pin It

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