Cheese Stuffed Bacon Wrapped Shrimp and Hatch Green Chile Cheese Grits

© 2012 REMCooks.com

Keeping with Hatch chile season we made this creamy, spicy, flavor packed meal last night. WOW!

Grits are a very popular dish in the south. I never ate a lot of grits growing up and really didn’t care for them. Typically, the grits you found were hominy grits and I didn’t like hominy corn. It’s still not my favorite although I love it in pazole. To make it worse, grits were simply cooked with a little salt and pepper. Butter was added at the end and it was served with breakfast. Hmm, breakfast filler that I could live without. I still don’t like grits cooked that way. Why ruin a perfectly good breakfast with a bland, mealy, mushy mess?

When I got a little older Mom brought me a “treat” from one of her trips back to Ohio. It was polenta. I tried it several different ways and it reminded me of grits. I began to do a little research on polenta and lo and behold it is grits, just not hominy grits. While polenta is an improvement over hominy grits, it isn’t much of an improvement. It’s still relatively bland and mushy unless you fry it at which point it is edible and somewhat tolerable.

It wasn’t until years later that I finally figured out how to fix grits/polenta. I started learning how to cook Italian food and started seeing recipes with grits. Holy moly! If you poured a sauce over grits/polenta they took on a completely different texture and meaning in life. They became a foil for the sauce and were custard-like. Add cream, parmesan cheese and rosemary and you go to a completely different level. At last, my eyes were opened at the limitless possibilities of grits/polenta. This shrimp and grits dish is just one of those limitless possibilities. Give this a try while Hatch chiles still can be found. If you don’t you only have yourself to blame for missing such a wonderful dining experience.

Ingredients

  • 1.5 cups Grits/Polenta
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 5.25 cups water
  • 1 Tbsp salt
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1.5 cups roasted Hatch green chile, minced (equals 1.3 lbs raw chiles)
  • 1 cup Manchego cheese, grated
  • 1 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1/2 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp Mexican oregano, crushed
  • 1 lb shrimp, 10 – 15 count, peeled and butterflied on belly side
  • 1/2 lb Asiago cheese
  • bacon, thin slice

Instructions

For the Shrimp

Prepare the shrimp.

© 2012 REMCooks.com

Slice Asiago cheese into strips to fit inside the butterflied shrimp. Using a microwave, par cook enough bacon to wrap around the shrimp, 1 slice per shrimp. You want to par cook the bacon because it takes longer to cook the bacon than it does the shrimp. Without par cooking 1) the shrimp is overdone; or 2) the bacon is underdone.

Place a strip of Asiago cheese in each shrimp.

© 2012 REMCooks.com

Wrap cheese stuffed shrimp with bacon. Typically it takes 2/3 strip of bacon to completely wrap the shrimp. Cover with plastic wrap and place in refrigerator until ready to cook.

For the Grits

Pour water and heavy cream into a large pot. Add salt and bring to a boil. Add grits/polenta to boiling liquid an decrease heat to low.

© 2012 REMCooks.com

Add oregano

© 2012 REMCooks.com

Now the cumin

© 2012 REMCooks.com

Allow to cook on low heat for 30 – 40 minutes until grits/polenta become smooth and tender stirring frequently. When grits/polenta are creamy, smooth and tender add Hatch green chiles

© 2012 REMCooks.com

Stir to incorporate and add 2 Tbsp unsalted butter.

© 2012 REMCooks.com

Stir to incorporate and add 1 cup Manchego cheese, grated

© 2012 REMCooks.com

Add parmesan cheese

© 2012 REMCooks.com

Stir to incorporate and melt cheese. Remove from heat, and adjust seasoning, if necessary. Cover and set aside until ready to serve.

For the Shrimp.

Heat a large heavy bottomed skillet over medium heat. When hot add shrimp with loose end of bacon on bottom.

© 2012 REMCooks.com

Cook 2 minutes to brown and crisp bacon and turn over. Cook another 2 minutes and remove from pan to a paper towel to drain.

To Plate

Put 1 – 2 ladles of grits/polenta into middle of dinner plate and rotate to spread grits/polenta around plate. Take 5 shrimp and arrange on plate. Sprinkle chives over top. Serve and enjoy!

© 2012 REMCooks.com

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11 thoughts on “Cheese Stuffed Bacon Wrapped Shrimp and Hatch Green Chile Cheese Grits

  1. Richard, you knocked this one over the fence. Not having much experience with polenta, although I have cooked varieties of grits, I was surprised at the amount of liquid to cook them. When I re-checked the cooking time, I got my answer. The subtle use of herbs/spices and varieties of cheeses transitioned this dish to dynamic. My only question is, did you use the medium or hot level of Hatch chiles? Great dish, my friend, and please thank your personal assistant!

    • Hi Al. The polenta is not quick polenta but regular which takes more liquid and more time. To answer your questions, we used the HOT chiles. It had just enough kick to it and unbelievable flavor. Baby Lady (my wonderful assistant) recommended we have the leftover grits for breakfast with fried quail eggs. So, we did but that’s another post on leftovers.

  2. I must admit, Richard, you almost lost me. All this talk of polenta being bland and only good if fried. Sacrilege! My anger quicky passed when I thought, “Here is a man who needs help.” The very next paragraph I read and saw that you’d redeemed yourself — and, boy, did you redeem yourself! This recipe is superb! The way you prepared the polenta, the use of Asiago cheese, the bacon-wrapped shrimp, and, of course, your Hatch chilis, make for one terrific dish.
    We use polenta as a “platform” for a number of dishes, from beef short ribs to tripe, with leftovers being fried or baked similar to lasagne. I love it almost as much as pasta, and that’s saying a lot!

    • Well, John, I’m glad you finished reading to see my ultimate salvation and redemption. ;) Now, I love polenta. It’s just hell on my diet. :o We took some of the leftovers and had them for breakfast the following day with fried quail eggs. Absolutely delicious. Glad you like the recipe.

  3. Pingback: Ask two Jews, get three Seders | Attack of the 5 Foot Woman

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