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!
Ingredients:3/4 cup stone-ground dry grits
12 slices bacon
1 leek, diced (see note above)
1/2 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 green pepper, diced
1 pound medium to large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/4 cup white wine (or vegetable stock)
1/4 vegetable stock
2 cups half-and-half (or milk)
Salt and pepper to taste
Hot sauce (optional)
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.