Monday, February 21, 2011

Oscar Eats: True Shrimp and Grits

Everyone knows I love a good pun, especially a good food pun, so to celebrate this Sunday's Academy Awards, I'll be posting recipes all week long that honor some of 2010's greatest accomplishments in cinema and will play with your tastebuds just as much as their titles play on words.

First up, one of my favorite films of the year, the Coen Brothers' True Grit, nominated for 10 awards including Best Picture and Best Supporting Actress, though, sadly, Matt Damon will not be recognized for his brilliant Matthew McConaughey impression. If you don't get what I mean, watch this and remember the moment when Damon leans back in his chair, peels his coat to the side to reveal a tin star and drawls, "I'm a Texas Ranger."

True Shrimp and Grits
Serves 4

These whiskey-drenched smoky shrimp are right up Rooster Cogburn’s alley. Served with cheesy grits, this is one meal you’ll never want to bid "A-dios."

2 cups chicken stock
1 cup quick grits
4 tablespoons butter
1 cup sharp cheddar, shredded
1 cup Monterey jack cheese, shredded
2 slices bacon, chopped (high quality turkey bacon may be substituted)
1 yellow onion, diced
1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 scallions, thinly sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup whiskey
juice of one lemon
4 tablespoons Italian parsley, chopped
salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

In a large pot over high heat, combine water and stock and bring to a boil. Add salt and pepper to taste and stir in grits. Reduce heat to medium-high and cook, stirring constantly, until water is absorbed and grits are tender, about five minutes. Stir in butter and cheese and cook until cheese melts. Remove pan from heat, taste for salt, cover and set aside.

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, cook bacon until fat renders and bacon begins to brown, about 5-7 minutes. Add onion, cooking until it softens and begins to caramelize, another five minutes. Add garlic, scallions and shrimp, sauté just until shrimp turn pink, about three minutes. Add whiskey, lemon juice and parsley to pan, season with salt and pepper to taste and remove from heat.

To serve, ladle cheesy grits into serving bowls and top with drunken shrimp.

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