Serves about 6

for the shrimp-

1 Tablespoon butter

1 teaspoon olive oil

1 ½ lbs. large fresh or frozen shrimp {thawed} with tails on

6 slices of thick-cut hickory bacon, cut into pieces

1 red bell pepper, chopped

1 yellow bell pepper, chopped

1 yellow onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, chopped

1 ½ Tablespoons of Creole seasoning, like Tony Chachere’s

½ cup dry white wine

1 ½ cups unsalted chicken stock

the juice of one lemon

2-3 Tablespoons chopped scallions, green parts only

-for the grits-

12 oz. Mild Mexican Velveeta, cubed

½ teaspoon salt

1 cup uncooked instant grits

2 cups of unsalted chicken stock

2 cups of milk

¼ cup butter

1 teaspoon garlic powder

3 Tablespoons jarred chopped jalapenos and juice

In a large skillet or saucepan with a lid over medium heat, heat butter and oil. Lay the shrimp in the pan in an even layer, season with a dusting of creole seasoning, and cook on both sides for only a minute or two. The shrimp are done when the tails are red and the meat is barely white. Remove the shrimp from the pan, and cover them to keep warm. In the same skillet, cook bacon pieces, stirring until crisp and nicely browned. Using a slotted spoon or spatula, spoon out the bacon pieces and drain on a paper towel-lined plate, reserving the bacon grease in the skillet. Turn the off the burner, and sit tight.

In a 4qt saucepan, bring water, milk, butter and salt just to a boil and whisk in grits, whisking constantly so they do not clump. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook grits until they’ve expanded and gotten creamy, about 7-8 minutes or so. Over low heat, stir in cheese and garlic powder. Stir until cheese is melted and grits are smooth. Stir in jarred jalapenos and juice. Taste as you go! Add more milk or butter a little at a time, stirring over low heat until the grits are creamy, creamy, creamy.

Heat the bacon grease over medium heat, and add the peppers and onions, sautéing for about 3-4 minutes until they are tender but not soft. Add the chopped garlic and stir constantly for one minute to be sure it doesn’t burn…and it will burn on you fast. Add the wine and allow it to cook for a minute; then stir in the stock and the creole seasoning. Cover the sauce and allow it to simmer for several minutes while you stir the grits. Remove the lid from the sauce, stir in the sautéed shrimp and squeeze in the lemon juice. Allow the shrimp to warm back up a little in the sauce. Taste, adding more creole seasoning, more lemon, or more wine/stock if you prefer.

To serve, spoon a shallow bowl with your creamy jalapeno cheese grits, and ladle the shrimp and sauce on top. Then garnish with crumbled bacon, chopped green scallions, and even a crumble of goat cheese if you’d like. I like to lay a rustic hunk of buttered crusty bread on the side of the bowl which is just right for moppin’ up the last little bit of grits and sauce from the bowl.