- 12 oz (about 8 slices) smoked bacon
- 5 cups low-sodium chicken broth, divided
- 1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, finely chopped
- 3 ribs of celery, finely chopped
- 1 lb peeled and deveined shrimp
- 3 Tbsp cajun seasoning, divided
- 1 tsp cornstarch
- ½ tsp baking powder
- 1 cup grits
- ½ cup shredded cheddar cheese
- ½ cup sour cream
- ½ cup thinly sliced scallions
I started this recipe with the goal of making a saucier version of classic shrimp and grits. Cooking down the tomatoes, celery, and bell pepper in bacon fat and stock creates a rich, flavorful sauce in which to cook the shrimp. And stirring sour cream and cheddar into the grits makes them extra creamy and yummy. This dish is all about timing. You’ll have a lot of pots on the stove at once, but if you follow the steps, then everything should be ready at the same time!
Cook the bacon in a large skillet over medium heat until crispy, about 4 to 5 minutes per side. Transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate. Pour the rendered bacon fat into a heatproof bowl. Wipe down the skillet with a wad of paper towels.
While the bacon cooks, pour 4 cups of the broth into a saucepan; bring to a boil over medium heat. Meanwhile, in a medium-sized bowl, toss together the shrimp, cornstarch, baking powder, and 1 Tbsp of the cajun seasoning.
Place the skillet over medium-high heat. Add 3 Tbsp of the reserved bacon fat. Sear the shrimp in the bacon fat--you’re looking for good color on the shrimp but they don’t need to cook through--30 to 40 seconds per side. Transfer shrimp to a plate and set aside.
Lower the heat under the skillet to medium. Add another 1 Tbsp bacon fat to the skillet; add the bell pepper, tomatoes, and celery, and the remaining 2 Tbsp cajun seasoning. Sauté the veggies for about 3 minutes, and then add the remaining 1 cup broth to the skillet. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, turn your attention to the saucepan of boiling broth. Add the grits; lower the heat to a simmer; and stir constantly until the grits thicken in texture, about 5 minutes. When pleasing thick, stir in the cheese and sour cream. Remove pan from heat and cover.
Return the shrimp to the skillet with the veggies to finish cooking though.
To serve, scoop a generous portion of grits into a wide shallow bowl. Add shrimp and veggies and a generous sprinkling of scallions. Crumble bacon over the top. Dig in!