Wednesday, March 26, 2008

BBQ Shrimp with Low Country Grits

BBQ Shrimp with Low Country Grits is something you will find a lot down on the coast of Georgia and there are numerous different recipes. Here is mine. This is a pretty easy recipe and quick if you always have some frozen shrimp in the freezer and a few other staples. Of course fresh shrimp are always best but you can't always have that and the flash frozen shrimp are OK for this dish. I like the ones that are already cleaned and cooked as it just makes this recipe that much faster. Yes, I know they are probably farm raised in Thailand or somewhere but sometimes you just have to deal with it and not everyone can get good fresh shrimp. I'd much rather take my chances with shrimp that were flash frozen hours after they were harvested than shrimp that may be a couple of days out of the water and of questionable freshness.

Low Country Grits - try and find stone ground grits or use Bob's Red Mill. I like the yellow grits or polenta just for the color but white grits work as well and there is still plenty of color on the plate with the red and green peppers. This will make enough for 4 but it is not a large serving. This recipe easily doubles and would make 6 generous servings.

1 Cup Heavy cream
1 Cup of water
2 Tblsp. Butter
1 Tsp. kosher salt
1/4 Tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup grits (yellow or white, preferably stone ground)

Making the grits:

In a nice heavy saucepan with a lid bring the cream and water to a low boil and add the rest of the ingredients. Pour the grits in slowly while stirring to prevent lumps. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook covered for about 20 minutes stirring occasionally to prevent scorching.

While your grits are cooking...

Sauce for the shrimp

2 strips of breakfast bacon diced
1/4 cup finely diced red or sweet onion
1/4 cup finely diced red bell pepper
1/4 cup finely diced green bell pepper
1 cup of your favorite bottled BBQ sauce ( I used a local brand Williamson Bros since it doesn't have High Fructose Corn Syrup) or you can use your own homemade BBQ sauce.
1/2 cup dry white wine (this thins out the BBQ sauce which otherwise would be too thick and you might need more or less depending on the thickness of the sauce...some of the bottled sauces are like glue!)
Dash or two of Tabasco or other hot sauce to taste or a pinch of dried red pepper flakes (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste


In a saute pan cook the diced bacon until it is almost done and then add the onion and peppers and saute until done (about 5 minutes). Add the BBQ sauce and wine and hot sauce if you are going there and warm until it just simmers. Add 1 pound of shrimp(peeled and deveined,tails on or off) (actually you are looking for about 6 - 8 medium shrimp per person so (18 - 24 ct shrimp are about the right size). If your shrimp are precooked then just warm them through. If your shrimp are fresh then cook them a couple of minutes until they are done... just don't overcook them. If your shrimp are fresh the extended cooking might make your sauce too think so be prepared to add a dash or two more wine.

I like this served in a shallow bowl (like a pasta bowl) with the grits in the center and the shrimp around and the sauce over the grits and shrimp. You can garnish with some chopped flat leaf parsley or finely chopped scallions (or both!).

Serve with a nice salad and you are good to go. This can be on the table in about a half hour. If you are going to use frozen shrimp either precooked or raw it is best to thaw them under some cool running water first.

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