Shrimp and Grits
For the Grits
1/2 cup yellow grits (We use Lake Side which is local to North Carolina; however, you may substitute with quick cooking white grits.)
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 stick butter
For the Shrimp and Sauce
1 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined, tail off
1/2 onion, diced
1/2 cup green pepper, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
1 tablespoon flour
4 slices bacon
1 1/2 cup chicken broth
1 tablespoon butter
Seasoning blend for shrimp
1/4 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
Combine the seasoning blend for the shrimp.
Sprinkle over the top of the shrimp and stir well to coat each piece. Keep in refrigerator until ready to cook.
Bring the broth to a boil and add the grits. Cook for 5 minutes, then add the cheese and heavy cream. Stir well, cover and set aside.
Fry the four pieces of bacon until crisp and remove bacon and crumble into small pieces. Set the bacon aside to use as a topping. Keep about one tablespoon of the drippings in the pan and set aside the remainder of the drippings. (You will use it later for the shrimp)
Place the onions, bell pepper and celery in the hot bacon grease and saute until the onions become transluscent. Add the flour and stir well. Cook for about one minute or so. Add 1 cup water and whisk until it becomes a thicker consistency. (This is a sauce, so it does not have to be very thick, but if you want it thicker, just cook until it is at the desired consistency.)
Remove the sauce and set aside.
Add 1 and 1/2 tablespoons of the bacon drippings to the pan. Once this is heated, add the shrimp making sure they are all in one even layer. Add two pats of butter when the shrimp is almost done. Cook the shrimp until they turn pink. Shrimp will cook relatively quickly, so keep an eye on it. Toss them around throughout the cooking process so they become somewhat caramelized on each side. Remove from heat.
To plate this, begin with a ladle of grits, then sauce, and top with shrimp. Sprinkle with crumbled bacon. Parsley is a pretty garnish for this dish, but optional.