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.
- 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
For the Shrimp
Prepare the shrimp.
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.
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.
Now the cumin
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
Stir to incorporate and add 2 Tbsp unsalted butter.
Stir to incorporate and add 1 cup Manchego cheese, grated
Add parmesan cheese
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.
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.
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!