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Dine-In: Southern Comfort


I just hung up the phone with my mother, who lives too far away for me to see very often. We make up for this geographical distance by talking and texting as many times a day as possible, which is roughly somewhere between 10-10,000.

These are the times I am grateful for technological advances that allow me to keep in touch with those I love when a phone call or visit just isn’t possible.

Besides my mom being my best friend, she is also the one who let me tag along beside her in the kitchen day after day when I was a child, never complaining that I was in her way or slowing her down. She had six people to feed each day, but she always took the time to teach me – or simply allow me the freedom to explore in the kitchen while she worked.

Mama is coming to visit me next week, and she will be helping me with a Brookshire’s cooking video for our July issue of Celebrate Cooking. Even though I am 43 years old, when I hear that my mother is coming to visit I feel my shoulders relax just a little. I don’t think any of us ever grow out of needing a mother’s comforting touch and reminder that we are deeply loved.

This Spicy Shrimp and Grits recipe is one of my favorite childhood comfort foods from my mother’s table. In the South, grits are one of our staples at any meal, not just breakfast! They are the perfect creamy side dish to our spicy, tomato-based sautéed shrimp. All you need is some crusty French bread to “sop” the juices, and you’ll have the perfect Friday night menu to ease you into the weekend.

Enjoy! 

Mama’s Shrimp and Cheese Grits

Ingredients:
6 cups water
1 (12 oz) can evaporated milk
1 1/2 cups quick-cooking grits
1 1/2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese (I use white cheddar)
Salt and black pepper to taste
5 bacon slices, chopped
2 cups sliced mushrooms
1 cup chopped yellow onion
3/4 cup chopped red bell pepper
2 1/4 cups chopped plum tomatoes, divided
1 lb raw large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 Tbs Tabasco or Sriracha hot sauce

Directions:
Bring water and milk to boil in large saucepan. Gradually whisk in grits and reduce heat to allow grits to simmer until thickened, about 20 minutes. Make sure you stir often. Remove from heat and mix in cheese; season with salt and pepper.  

While grits are cooking, sauté bacon in a large skillet until crisp, and remove bacon to paper towels to drain, reserving drippings. Add mushrooms, onion, bell pepper, and 1 1/2 cups tomatoes to the bacon drippings. Sauté until vegetables are tender and sauce is thickened, about 10 minutes.  Add shrimp, hot sauce, and remaining tomatoes to skillet. Sauté until shrimp are opaque, about 4 minutes. Be careful not to overcook the shrimp or they will become tough. Taste for any additional needed salt and pepper. 

Spoon grits onto plates; top with shrimp and sauce. Serve immediately.


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