Do you know Jenna? She runs the blog Eat Live Run and came over earlier this year to hang out and help me with the massive cookbook photoshoot. This woman not only dices carrots like a madwoman, but she’s one of the most talented gals I know. Plus, my kids adore “Auntie Jenna” – when you’re a kid, and you call someone “Auntie” or “Uncle” it doesn’t mean they are related to you, it just means they love you, trust you. I definitely know it’s a Chinese thing, and I’m sure that it’s the same in many other cultures too.
Jenna’s first book, White Jacket Required: A Culinary Coming-of-Age Story, will leave you laughing, crying and hungry. Think about it. There aren’t many books that can make you feel all three!
Although this dish was traditionally served for breakast to shrimpers coming into shore after long weeks out at sea, it's one of my favorite comfort foods for dinner.
Tip for the leeks: You'll be using all of the white stem Cut the leek in half, just under where the green leaves begin. Slice stalk in half lengthwise, rinse the white stalk, set aside. Peel the green leaves apart and wash really well - I like to throw them in a sink-full of cool water as I peel the leaves off. There's a lot of hidden dirt in those leaves!
Cook the grits according to package directions. Remove from heat but keep covered on the stove while you prepare other ingredients.
In a cast-iron skillet over medium heat, fry the bacon. When bacon is beginning to crisp up, push the bacon to the side of pan. Add in the shrimp and saute until done, about 2 minutes. Remove the cooked bacon and the shrimp to a bowl.
To the same pan, add leeks, onion, and green pepper to the hot bacon grease and cook over medium high heat until soft and translucent, about 4 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook for an additional 2 minutes.
Add white wine to deglaze, then stir in the vegetable stock and half-and half and bring mixture to a simmer. Continue to simmer sauce until it starts to thicken, about 2 minutes. Taste and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Divide cooked grits among four bowls. Then divide in the shrimp and bacon to each bowl. Ladle sauce over and serve with hot sauce if desired.
Reprinted with permission from White Jacket Required: A Culinary Coming-of-Age Story © 2012 by Jenna Weber, Sterling Epicure, an imprint of Sterling Publishing Co., Inc.