Shrimp and Grits

This chile pepper is often mislabeled ‘Pasilla’, which is a different pepper entirely.It is one of the most popular chiles in Mexico and has won the appreciation of many a chef worldwide because of the superior flavor it has over regular bell peppers.

They have a tough outer skin that usually requires roasting and peeling before use. These very large chile peppers are most popular in chiles rellenos recipes, but cooking with these as a substitute for bell peppers in any recipe will enhance the flavor.

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1 pound medium to large shrimp, shelled and deveined (Save the shells and heads for stock. See Kitchen Notes.)
1 ½ – 2 tsp. creole seasoning* (if you like things really spicy, used 2 tsp.)
4 slices of thick sliced bacon, cut into 1” strips
1 medium onion, diced
1 poblano pepper, seeded and diced
1 celery stalk, sliced thin
6 cloves garlic, minced
½ cup white wine (if you don’t want to use wine, then increase the stock to 1 ½ cups)
1 cup shrimp or chicken stock (See Kitchen Notes)
2 bay leaves
½ tsp. dried oregano
¼ tsp. dried thyme
1 Tbsp. parsley, chopped

Creole Seasoning (adapted from Emeril’s Essence Creole Seasoning):
1 Tbsp. paprika
½ tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. red chile powder or cayenne
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. dried thyme
¼ tsp. black pepper
¼ tsp. salt

¾ cup quick cooking grits (not instant grits)
3 cups water
1/2 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. butter


Toss the shrimp with the creole seasoning and set aside until ready to use. (Make shrimp stock from the shells and heads if you have them. See Kitchen Notes.)

Cook the bacon pieces in a large skillet (big enough to hold all ingredients but the grits). Stir occasionally and flip pieces over until crisp. Remove, drain, and set aside. Pour off all but about 2 Tbsp. of the drippings from the pan.

Set the heat to medium-low or low. Add the onion, celery, garlic and poblano. Cook slowly until tender, about 5 minutes.

Add the wine and deglaze the pan, scraping off anything still stuck to the bottom of the skillet. Add the bay leaves, oregano, thyme, and stock. Stir. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer 4 minutes. Add the shrimp, cover and cook 2 minutes. Turn the shrimp over and cook another 2 minutes. Remove from the heat. Stir in the parsley, cover and let sit for 5 minutes.

Cooking the grits:
Bring the water with salt to a boil in a sauce pan. Slowly whisk in the grits. Set heat to low and cover. Cook 5 minutes, whisking once every minute to keep the grits from clumping.

Once the grits are cooked, remove from heat, add the butter. Cover until ready to serve. Just before serving, stir the melted butter into the grits.

To serve:
Place a large scoop or two of grits in a wide bowl. Top with shrimp mixture. Be sure to get some of the stock from the shrimp mixture into each bowl. Top each serving with some of the bacon pieces and a little more parsley (if desired).

Serve with a baguette or any good bread.