Friday, December 14, 2012

Shrimp & Grits

Maybe I was just preparing myself for my trip to North Carolina last weekend, but a couple of weeks ago my sister and I threw together a shrimp and grits dinner.  For those of you who don't know this, grits are delicious and go with lots of things, see here.  They're also easy.

I don't even know that I have that much of a recipe to share here, because we just pulled some slow-cooker carnitas out of the freezer and warmed them up in a pan, sauteed some kale with some chili flakes and bacon, and cooked the shrimp with a little lemon, chili flakes, and parsley, and that was it.

EDITED TO ADD: Oops, apparently there was a thoughtful recipe behind the shrimp, rather than just being thrown together, namely this Bobby Flay shrimp and grits recipe.

I use Alton Brown's cheese grits recipe, although I usually just use water to cook the grits.  The key to grits is stirring often during the cooking process so you don't get lumps, and then lots of salt and pepper and cheese.

For my carnitas, I use this Pioneer Woman Spicy Shredded Pork Shoulder recipe, although I leave the rub mixture on the pork overnight, and then just cook the whole thing in a slow cooker during the day while I'm at work, before shredding the meat and reducing the juices.

All told it's as easy as can be.  And then I got to go to North Carolina and have grits for brunch at Foster's with Jenny-Jen.  I'll have to try this next, grits with black beans, salsa, and a fried egg on top.

Shrimp (for shrimp & grits):
1 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined
6 slices bacon, chopped
4 tsps lemon juice
2 Tbsp chopped parsley
1 garlic clove, minced

Rinse shrimp and pat dry.  Fry the bacon in a large skillet until browned; drain well.  In grease, add shrimp.  Cook until shrimp turn pink, add lemon juice, parsley, and garlic, and saute for 3 minutes.  Serve over grits.

Cheese Grits:
4 cups water (or broth, or 2 cups water and 2 cups milk)
1 1/2 tsps kosher salt
1 cup coarse ground cornmeal
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
4 Tbsp unsalted butter
4 oz sharp cheddar, shredded (or cheese of your choice, Parmesan is good)

Bring the liquid and salt to a boil in a pot with a lid over medium-high heat.  Gradually add the cornmeal while continually whisking, and then reduce the heat to low and cover.  Remove lid and whisk every 3-4 minutes, and cook for a total of 20-25 minutes or until creamy.

Remove from heat, add the pepper and butter, and whisk to combine.  Gradually whisk in the cheese a little at a time.  Taste for salt, pepper or more cheese.

4 lbs pork shoulder (up to 7 lbs is fine)
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1 Tbsp salt (or up to 2 Tbsp)
pepper to taste
3-4 cloves garlic
1-2 Tbsp olive oil
2-3 Tbsp white wine vinegar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 whole onion, peeled and quartered
line wedges

Throw all the ingredients save the pork and lime into a food processor and blend until combined.  Rub the mixture all over the pork shoulder, and store covered in the fridge overnight.

The next morning, place the pork shoulder and all the rub mixture into your slow cooker, add a couple of cups of water, and cook on the low setting for 6-8 hours, or until fork tender.

Once cooked, pull the meat out and shred the pork with two forks.  Now you have options with the sauce.  You can try and remove some of the fat by skimming it off the top. (This is way easier if you can stick the sauce in the fridge overnight because the fat rises to the top and solidifies).  You can reduce the sauce on the stove top if you think you have too much liquid.  Or you can just throw the shredded meat back into the slow cooker and mix it all up, which is what I usually do.  Serve with lime wedges.

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