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Weekend Recipe: Shrimp and Grits

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Cook's Country

This Carolina classic from Cook's Country is famous for its tender shrimp, silky gravy, and creamy grits. To control the cooking of the shrimp, we parcook them in rendered bacon fat. We set them aside while creating a light gravy of flavorful (and quick) shrimp stock, bacon, garlic, lemon, and Tabasco; we then finish cooking the shrimp directly in the gravy. We found that toasting the grits before adding liquid helps bring out the most corn flavor. Chopped scallions finish the dish with a jolt of freshness.


Shrimp and Grits
Serves 4

We prefer untreated shrimp—those without added sodium or preservatives like sodium tripolyphosphate. Most frozen E-Z peel shrimp have been treated (the ingredient list should tell you). If you’re using treated shrimp, do not add the salt in step 4. If you use our winning grits (Anson Mills Pencil Cob) or other fresh-milled grits, you will need to increase the simmering time by 25 minutes.

INGREDIENTS

Grits:
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup grits
2 1/4 cups whole milk
2 cups water
Salt and pepper

Shrimp:
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/2 pounds extra-large shrimp (21 to 25 per pound), peeled and deveined, shells reserved
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 1/4 cups water
3 slices bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 garlic clove, minced
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon Tabasco sauce, plus extra for serving
4 scallions, sliced thin

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INSTRUCTIONS

1. FOR THE GRITS: Melt 1 tablespoon butter in medium saucepan over medium heat. Add grits and cook, stirring often, until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add milk, water, and 3/4 teaspoon salt. Increase heat to medium-high and bring to boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer, whisking often, until thick and creamy, about 25 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in remaining 2 tablespoons butter, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover and keep warm.

2. FOR THE SHRIMP: Meanwhile, melt 1 tablespoon butter in 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add shrimp shells and cook, stirring occasionally, until shells are spotty brown, about 7 minutes. Stir in tomato paste and cook for 30 seconds. Add water and bring to boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 5 minutes.

3. Strain shrimp stock through fine-mesh strainer set over bowl, pressing on solids to extract as much liquid as possible; discard solids. You should have about 1 1/2 cups stock (add more water if necessary to equal 1 1/2 cups). Wipe out skillet with paper towels.

4. Cook bacon in now-empty skillet over medium-low heat until crisp, 7 to 9 minutes. Increase heat to medium-high and stir in shrimp, garlic, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Cook until edges of shrimp are just beginning to turn pink, but shrimp are not cooked through, about 2 minutes. Transfer shrimp mixture to bowl.

5. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in now-empty skillet over medium-high heat. Whisk in flour and cook for 1 minute. Slowly whisk in shrimp stock until incorporated. Bring to boil, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer until thickened slightly, about 5 minutes.

6. Stir in shrimp mixture, cover, and cook until shrimp are cooked through, about 3 minutes. Off heat, stir in lemon juice, Tabasco, and remaining 1 tablespoon butter. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve over grits, sprinkled with scallions, and passing extra Tabasco.

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