Mom’s Shrimp & Grits

ImageIt’s usually about this time of the year that I realize that REAL produce isn’t almost in full bloom at the farmers market and I can again experience fresh, local produce.  Yes, I’m kinda a produce “junkie”. Sorry but those cardboard tasting tomatoes in the grocery store just doesn’t cut it.

Do you buy local? That is do you buy food (or any good or service) produced, grown, or raised as close to your home as possible. There are endless opportunities to buy local in Missouri (and I’m sure in your own state), and by doing so you will get exceptional taste and freshness, strengthen your local economy, support family farms, safeguard your family’s health and protect the environment. Become a localvore in 2013!

Today a true southern classic- Shrimp and Grits! Yes, this recipe will be a little hard to buy local for, unless you live by the gulf to get your shrimp, but there are more and more shrimp farmers’ in Missouri or you can stop in at Farmers Market of the Ozarks in Springfield and get fresh shrimp from Big Pop.

Mom’s Shrimp and Grits
1 pound large raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 cup heavy cream (try buying local cream)
2 cups water1 1/2 cups hot stock (shrimp, chicken, or vegetable)
1/4 cup butter (buy local butter for a dairy)
Salt and black pepper to taste
1 cup stone-ground grits**
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Salt and black pepper to taste
6 bacon slices (I always use Burgers Bacon)
2 tablespoons finely chopped onion
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons finely chopped green or red bell pepper or both

To add flavor, place the shells of the shrimp in a saucepan and cover with water. Simmer over low heat approximately 20 minutes. Remove from heat and strain the broth, discarding shells. Add shrimp broth to hot stock, makes for an incredible stock.

** If using quick-cooking grits (not instant), reduce cream to 1/2 cup and reduce stock to 1 cup.

In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, combine cream, water, and hot stock; bring to a gentle boil. Add butter, salt, and pepper. Slowly add grits, stirring constantly (so that the grits do not settle to the bottom and scorch), until all are added reduce heat to medium-low. Cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally (be carefully not to scorch mixture), or until the grits are tender. Grits should have absorbed all of the liquid and become soft and should have the same consistency as oatmeal (moist, not dry). If the grits become too thick, add warm stock or water to thin. Remove from heat.

Sprinkle shrimp with lemon juice, salt, and pepper; set aside. In a large frying pan over medium-high heat, cook bacon until brown but not crisp. Remove from heat and pat dry with paper towels; set aside. Coarsely chop bacon when cool. Reserve 4 tablespoons bacon great in the frying pan. Add onion, garlic, and green or red bell pepper; sauté 10 minutes or until the onion is transparent. Add shrimp mixture and bacon; sauté 5 to 7 minutes or until shrimp are opaque in center (cut to test). Remove from heat. To serve, spoon hot grits onto individual serving plates and top with shrimp mixture, then sprinkle with green onion tops.

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