Hors d’oeuvres and Leftovers: Shrimp and Gouda Grits in Bacon Bowls (Part 2)

I’m going to assume you have recovered from making mini bacon bowls by now.  See, I told you they weren’t as easy as you thought! And if they were, I don’t think I want to hear about it. 😀

Don't they look pretty?
Don’t they look pretty?

Now you need something to put inside those bacon bowls. (Assuming you didn’t eat them all while you were making them.) This part is actually pretty easy.

First, make grits. I kind of cheated and used quick grits (I am a fake gourmet, remember?). Put 3 cups of chicken broth on the stove to boil. I usually keep chicken broth, mostly because a local cafe gives away the stock when they boil chicken for chicken salad. (That’s right, they just give it away. Free. Just ask. Crazy, huh? Otherwise, they just throw it out.)

Of course, I got ready to make these grits and discovered that I had store-bought beef broth instead of chicken. Sigh. So I used bouillon cubes to make broth. (Then found 2 cans of chicken broth in the bottom of the pantry after I was finished. Typical.)

Once the broth is boiling, stir in 1 1/4 cups of grits, cover and reduce the heat to low. Since I used quick grits, they were ready in 5-7 minutes. Check the instructions on the package to see how long your grits need to cook. Once the grits have cooked, add 1/2 cup of heavy cream and 1/2 stick of butter. Continue to stir and when the butter has melted, add 2 generous cups of shredded smoked Gouda cheese. (The grocery stores here don’t have pre-shredded Gouda cheese, so I got it from the deli. About 1/2 pound = 2 cups.)

Keep stirring until the cheese has melted and it is creamy and smooth. (You should probably sample your work at this point, just so you know if it turned out okay.) Take the grits off the heat and cover the pan to keep them warm.

Now you are ready for the shrimp. Most versions of shrimp and grits are pretty hot and spicy. I am not a big fan of hot . . . it just sets my mouth on fire and kills the flavor. So I chose a recipe that is well seasoned, but not hot. Of course, I look at recipes as mild suggestions for the most part, so naturally I changed it!

I used a package of frozen shrimp this time because it meant I didn’t have to make a trip to the store. I know, I know, fresh shrimp would be better and sometimes I do that, too. The package I used was medium-sized shrimp and had 40-60 in the bag.

If you use frozen shrimp, put the shrimp in a bowl in the sink and run cold water over them to thaw.  Just make sure they are thawed by the time you need to add them to the sauce.

I saved some of the bacon grease from the bacon bowls to use here. If you didn’t save any, you can use olive oil or butter, but the bacon grease is best. Put enough oil/bacon grease in the bottom of a skillet to almost cover the bottom. Add about a tablespoon of minced garlic. (I used the kind that comes in a jar. Hey, it was handy! Fresh garlic works, too.) Also add a couple of tablespoons of minced onion. Once again, I used the pre-minced kind you buy in the spice aisle, mostly because I hatehatehate cutting onions. Use fresh onions if you want to. Totally up to you.)

Saute the garlic and onions over medium heat for about a minute, or until they become fragrant. Be careful that your skillet isn’t too hot or they will burn almost immediately and you will have to start over. Not that that happened to me. At all. Uh-uh.

Anyway, after the garlic and onions start to smell good, add 3 tablespoons of butter and 2 tablespoons of white wine. Let the butter melt about halfway, then add the shrimp. Let them cook for about 2 minutes, or until the bottom side of the shrimp starts to turn opaque. Flip the shrimp and let them cook on the other side. Remove the shrimp from the sauce and set aside.

Add 2 cups of heavy cream to the pan and stir constantly until the sauce reduces by about a third — roughly 10 minutes. Season the sauce with salt, cayenne pepper, and ginger to taste.

Now it is time to assemble the bowls. Put a scoop of grits in each bacon bowl, top with a shrimp, and then drizzle some sauce over the top. Be sure to remove the tails from the shrimp before you put them on the bowls.

Serve while warm, if possible.

Now here is the great part. There were more shrimp, grits, and sauce than there were bowls. I refrigerated each separately and the next day…LEFTOVERS!

This dish is worth making just for the leftovers!
This dish is worth making just for the leftovers!

I fried the grits in butter to make patties and topped with the shrimp and sauce after warming them in the microwave.

Wow.

Best. Lunch. Ever.

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