Once a year for the past 14 years a group of eight friends (including us!) have been going on a weekend trip together. We cook, we shop, there may be golf, there may be a dinner game mystery; but we have really enjoyed the fun time together. The location has typically been within a two hour drive of our homes, to a VRBO, a bed and breakfast, or to a lake cabin or lake home. Since this year we are celebrating our 15th get together, we decided to do something special. After a lot of thought, we decided to spend four (or more!) days together in Savannah, Georgia. Although we are all well traveled, we found that this is one of the places that none of us had been to previously. More on that in a later blog post.
We needed to get together to do some advance planning, so I decided to host a potluck "Southern Dinner" to include us watching the movie "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil" which takes place in Savannah. For the dinner I decided to prepare Shrimp and Grits. You can immediately tell that I am a northerner since southerners will tell you that Shrimp and Grits is a breakfast entree, not a dinner entree. Oh well...
CREAMY SHRIMP AND GRITS. Serves 8.
* 4-1/4 cups low-salt chicken broth
* 3/4 cup whipping cream
* 6 tablespoons butter
* 2 garlic cloves, minced
* 1 cup corn grits (or corn meal)
In a large heavy saucepan, bring broth, cream, butter and garlic to boil. Gradually whisk in corn grits. Return to a boil, whisking constantly. Reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered, whisking often, until grits thicken - about 15 minutes.
* 4 ounces of bacon, cut into thin strips
* 1/2 cup butter
* 1 whole fresh red pepper, seeded and cut into pieces
* 2/3 cup finely chopped shallots
* 2 large garlic cloves, minced
* 4 pounds uncooked large shrimp, peeled, deveined and tails removed
* 1 cup dry white wine
* 28 ounces canned, diced tomatoes in juice, drained (juice reserved)
* 1 teaspoon seasoning such as Penzeys "Ozark"
* 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
* 1/2 cup chopped green onions
In a large, heavy skillet, fry the bacon; then remove the bacon and most of the bacon grease. Add 1/4 cup butter to the skillet. Saute red pepper, shallots and garlic for about 2 minutes. Add the shrimp and saute another two minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove the shrimp to a bowl. Add white wine to the skillet and boil until reduced to a glaze, about 5 minutes. Add the drained tomatoes, the Ozark seasoning, and half of the fried bacon; simmer until slightly thickened, about 2 minutes. Add parsley, green onions, and cooked shrimp and simmer until the shrimp are warmed through, about 2 minutes. If desired, thin the sauce with the reserved tomato juice. Test and add salt and pepper to taste.
Spoon corn grits into shallow bowls. Top with shrimp mixture, and garnish with the remaining fried bacon. Serve immediately.