Sunday, October 18, 2009

Mom's recent adventure with Shrimp and Grits

When I was little, my mom used to go to cooking classes by a lady named Ursula. I always found this a little funny/odd, because my mom is a great cook, but later in life, she took me to a class, and I suddenly understood. It was very entertaining, and a great way to have a little lunch and an outing with her buddies (under the auspices, I'm sure, of improving her "skillz"). She stopped going for a long time (perhaps because she was found out?), but just recently she was given a few classes as a present from her friend's son. Here's the result of one such class. I'm a bit trepidatious about posting it here, because I have not personally tested the recipe,'s a much less time-consuming version of the shrimp and grits recipe that I recently made (and will also post, though not today), and Mom said she's made it twice and it's great (even as leftovers).

Grits, Peppers, and Shrimp

1 cup quick grits
1 Tbl. chicken bouillon granules (not cubes)
1 cup cream
1 oz. butter
1 Tbl. olive oil
1/2 tsp. Hokan chili oil (this is a spicy oil that gives a nice little kick)
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 green bell pepper, half diced & the other half reserved**
1 yellow onion, cubed
2 Tbl. whole garlic, smashed and chopped
1 1/2 lbs. shrimp, peeled, deveined, and cut in half lengthwise
2 tsp. lemon pepper
1 1/2 cup shredded cheese (they used a mixture of gruyere and havarti, but Mom thinks any non-yellow cheese will work)
Pam cooking spray

**Save half of the green pepper for a flower decoration (aka cut the pepper so that it creates pretty rings that can be used as a garnish).

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees (325 for a convection oven).

Stir together the grits, bouillon granules, and 3 1/4 cups cold water in a microwave safe bowl. Wet paper towel segments to cover the dish, and microwave on high for 6 minutes. Stir, recover (redampening the paper towels, if necessary), and microwave another 6 minutes. Stir in cream until no lumps remain.

Spray a little Pam cooking spray in a large pot, add 2 oz. butter, 2 Tbl. olive oil, and 1/2 t. Hokan chili oil. Saute the diced red and green bell pepper. Add the cubed onion and continue to saute. Add the garlic. (Meanwhile, "Pam" a 2 1/2 - 3 qt. pan and put the grits in the pan.) Add the shrimp to the pepper and onion mixture and saute until barely pink (not done). Add 2 tsp. lemon pepper, toss, and add the shrimp to the pan of grits. (If you want, you could cook everything to this step the day before and then cool and refrigerate the pan, covered.) Top with cheese and bake 20 minutes at 350 degrees (325 if in a convection oven). (If you made the ingredients a day ahead and they are cold, bake for 40-45 minutes.)

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