Bacon & Shrimp Cheesy Grits
1 pound shrimp, cleaned and deveined
1 tablespoon hot sauce
½ teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning (or other Cajun spice blend)
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
½ teaspoon garlic salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 scallions, chopped, more to garnish
3¼ cups low sodium chicken stock
1 cup grits
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
½ cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese, more to garnish
3 slices bacon, diced
½ cup minced shallots
1 cup finely diced bell peppers (assorted colors)
1 tablespoon minced garlic
½ cup dry white wine
3-4 dashes Worcestershire sauce
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
In a bowl, mix the shrimp with the hot sauce, Old Bay Seasoning, cayenne pepper, garlic salt, ¼ teaspoon black pepper, ¼ teaspoon kosher salt, olive oil and chopped scallions. Set aside.
In a heavy bottom pot, bring the chicken stock to a rolling boil with ¼ teaspoon kosher salt. Slowly whisk in the grits and cook until the grits have thickened and become tender. For quick grits, this will take about 5-7 minutes over medium heat. For regular grits, simmer for about 25 minutes. Once done, stir in 2 tablespoons unsalted butter and cheese. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. Cover and keep warm.
In a cast iron skillet or other heavy bottom skillet. Slowly sauté the bacon until it becomes crispy and the fat has rendered down—about 5 minutes. Use a slotted spoon and transfer the bacon bits to a plate covered with paper towels. Reserve one tablespoon of bacon drippings in the pan and discard the rest. Sauté shallots in the bacon drippings until translucent. Add the diced bell peppers and cook for an additional two minutes. Add the garlic and shrimp and cook until the shrimp just begins to turn pink—about 2 minutes. Remove the shrimp from the skillet. Turn the heat to medium high and pour in the white wine. Use a wooden spoon and scrape the bottom of the skillet to release all the brown bits. Allow the wine to come to a boil and reduce the liquid for 2-3 minutes. Stir in the remaining butter, Worcestershire sauce, and red chili flakes. Add the shrimp back into the skillet and allow the items to cook for an additional minute. Taste and season as needed.
Divide the cheesy grits amongst four bowls and top each mound with the shrimp mixture. Sprinkle each bowl with the additional cheddar cheese, scallions and crispy bacon. Serve immediately.