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Chili Shrimp and Grits (McIlhenny Company)
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Chili Shrimp and Grits

Food & Wine March 1997

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"This dish takes its inspiration from Cajun cuisine. A trio of chilies - arbol,
ancho and jalapeño - gives the shrimp and grits a powerful kick. If you like
your shrimp extra hot, double the amount of the spices. Better still, buy small
shrimp in the shell and toss them with quadruple the spices; just take care
licking your fingers when you peel and eat the shrimp. You can certainly
serve the grits straight from the pot if you don't have time to chill and
fry them."

1 cup quick (not instant) grits
coarse salt
6 bacon slices
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 tablespoon ground cumin
3/4 teaspoon pure ancho chili powder
or hot paprika
1/4 teaspoon ground arbol chilies or
cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 pound medium shrimp, shelled, deveined
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 to 3 green or red jalapeño chilies,
stemmed, seeded and thinly sliced
lengthwise [wear gloves]
8 small scallions, thinly sliced diagonally
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/2 cup chicken stock

1. Generously butter an 8- or 9-inch square baking dish. In a medium saucepan bring 3 3/4 cups of water to a boil. Stir in the grits and
1/2 teaspoon salt and bring to a simmer over low heat. Cook, stir-
ring occasionally, until all the liquid is absorbed, about 10 minutes.
Pour into the baking dish and chill until firm, at least 1 hour. Invert
the grits onto a work surface and cut into quarters, then halve
diagonally to make 8 triangles.
2. In a large heavy nonreactive skillet, cook the bacon over moderate
heat until crisp. Transfer the bacon to paper towels to drain; crumble
the bacon.
3. Reheat the bacon fat in the pan. Add the grits triangles and cook
over high heat until golden, about 4 minutes per side. Transfer to
a platter and keep warm.
4. Wipe out the skillet and heat the olive oil in it. In a large bowl com-
bine the cumin, chili powder, ground chilies, 1/4 teaspoon salt and
the black pepper, then add the shrimp and toss to coat. Add the
shrimp and garlic to the skillet and cook over high heat until the
shrimp are just pink, about 2 minutes. Add the jalapeños and cook
until crisp-tender, about 2 minutes. Add the scallions and bacon
and cook for 1 more minute. Stir in the lime juice and chicken
stock and heat through. Spoon the shrimp and sauce over the
grits cakes.

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