Low-country Shrimp and Grits from Jenna Weber’s White Jacket Required

I’m SO excited to share with you all a recipe that’s from Jenna’s book {you can order yours now, HOLLA!} White Jacket Required! But first we have to back it up a bit.

I first found Jenna and her blog a few years ago via Tasty Kitchen, and when I clicked over to her site Eat, Live, Run I found myself many hours later, deep into her blog. Through reading Jenna’s blog entries and recipes I instantly felt like I knew her… like we could sit on her couch, drinking coffee and easily discuss things like our favorite books, scarves and Essie nail polish colors. Even though she didn’t know it yet, we were insta-friends.

Jenna gave me my first “break” so-to-speak when she emailed me back in April of ’11 asking if I would do a guest post for her while she went out of town. After I fuh-reaked out I of course said YES and, well the rest is history. So to open my mailbox and hold an advanced copy of her first book was surreal. Jenna is Jenna… on her blog and in her book, she’s lovely inside and out! I can’t wait to meet her in person.

Right away I started reading. I could taste the flaky pastries and smell her mother’s spaghetti sauce {which I’m making asap!}, through the laughter and the sorrow… I just couldn’t put the book down. I found myself walking through the halls of my work with the book in my hands and my face plastered to the book… determined to finish it before the day was out. I had to find out how it ended!

But besides the ENTIRE book, another thing I love about Jenna’s coming-of-age story is that speckled throughout are some of her favorite recipes, lots and lots of delicious recipes! And so when my eyes fell upon her Low-country Shrimp and Grits, her favorite Charlestonian dish, which she describes as a “comforting one-pot meal”… it was then I knew I had to make it, and pronto.

I mean c’mon… bacon, shrimp and grits PEOPLE!

It was truly uplifting reading all about Jenna following her dreams, listening to her inner-self and finding love, all of which led her to whom she is today… chef, blogger and now author! {So proud of you Jenna!} With all that said, I’m happy to share with you… Jenna’s recipe for shrimp and grits. Now don’t waste any time… hit up Amazon, Barnes & Noble or anywhere you can get your mitts on White Jacket Required and then make this recipe!

This all starts with a pound and a half of shrimp. Shelling and de-veining shrimp ain’t easy. It takes some time, so allot a good 30 minutes or so to get the job done.

First peel the shrimp, stopping right before the tail… or you can remove the tail all together, it’s your call. Gah! This girl needs some nail polish!

Then from the tail… run your knife along the top side… just scoring it a little and not going the whole way through. I really hold the shrimp in my hands to do this, but it’s a leeeetle hard doing that while holding a camera.

I know this is totally gross, but you need to remove the ah-hem digestive tract. Yup… with your fingers, just pull it out {YOU CAN DO IT!}.

I always give the shrimp a thorough rinse afterwards… just to be extra careful.

After I washed my hands 26 times, I moved on to the veg-prep. I diced up a small green pepper, half a yellow onion and one leek. You only need 2 tablespoons of the diced leek, so only buy one. I trimmed off the white and dark green parts of the leek, quartered it and diced it up. Then I popped it into a bowl of cold water and swirled it around to release any of the dirt, which will fall to the bottom of the bowl.

Then make the grits. Simply follow the directions on the back of the package. I used Bob’s Red Mill stone ground, which called for 3 cups water, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1 cup grits. But be sure to follow your directions on the kind of grits you’re using. After I cooked the grits, I put a heavy lid on the pot and pulled it off of the heat and got going on the shrimp part.

In a cast iron skilled add the cubed applewood bacon.

Jenna’s recipe calls for cooking the bacon then crumbling it. But I found it a lot easier to cut up the bacon and fry it all at once. But you do whatever you like… either way you look at it, it’s bacon… crispy and glorious.

Remove the crispified bacon to a plate with paper towel to drain, and set aside.

Add the peppers, onions and leeks to the bacon fat. Yup, you heard right… do NOT drain out that fat!

Cook the veggies until they are soft and the onions are translucent.

Add in the shelled and de-veined shrimp…

And cook 2-3 minutes per side.

Remove the shrimp to a plate, for only a moment…

…While you de-glaze the pan with white wine. I used Pinot Grigio… but she doesn’t specify so you can de-glaze-away with your favorite white wine.

Then stir in 2 cups of half and half, bring it up to a simmer until it thickens, which is about two minutes.

Add the shrimp back into the sauce…

And finally season with salt and fresh cracked black pepper.

I served up a portion of the grits into my bowl and ladled the saucy-shrimp over top, sprinkled a little green onion, crispy bacon and lots and lots of Frank’s Red Hot sauce.

She was TOTALLY right about the comfort. It was warm and filling and the hot sauce REALLY makes this. And I’m not the hugest fan of Frank’s and I still poured it on. SO so So good.

Author Bio for Jenna Weber, author of White Jacket Required: A Culinary Coming-of-Age Story, is the author of the highly successful food blog Eat, Live, Run. In 2007, she attended Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Orlando, Florida. White Jacket Required is her first book. She lives in San Francisco, California. Go to www.eatliverun.com for an up-to-the-minute look at Weber’s world of food.

For more information please visit http://www.eatliverun.com, and follow the author on Facebook and Twitter

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.

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Low-country Shrimp and Grits

Although this dish was traditionally served for breakfast to shrimpers coming into shore after long weeks out at sea, it's one of my favorite comfort foods for dinners. Look for applewood-smoked bacon, or ask your butcher to cut your bacon extra thick.

Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients:

¾ cup stone-ground grits (dry)

12 slices bacon (preferably applewood smoked)

2 tablespoons diced leeks

½ onion, chopped

1 green pepper, diced

1½ pounds medium to large shrimp, peeled and deveined

¼ cup white wine

2 cups half-and-half

Salt and pepper to taste

Chopped green onion for garnish

Hot sauce

The above is an excerpt from the book White Jacket Required: A Culinary Coming-of-Age Story by Jenna Weber. The above excerpt is a digitally scanned reproduction of text from print. Although this excerpt has been proofread, occasional errors may appear due to the scanning process. Please refer to the finished book for accuracy.
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.

Directions:

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 crispy, remove from skillet and crumble onto a small plate. Add leeks, onion, and green pepper to the hot bacon grease and cook over medium high heat until soft and translucent. Add shrimp and saute for about a minute or so, until they turn pink (be careful not to overcook!).

Remove shrimp from skillet. Add white wine to deglaze, then stir in half-and­ half and bring mixture to a simmer. Continue to simmer sauce until it starts to thicken, about 2 minutes. Add shrimp to sauce and season with salt and pepper.

Divide cooked grits among four bowls. Ladle shrimp and sauce over grits. Sprinkle with chopped green onions to garnish and serve with plenty of hot sauce.

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19 Responses to “Low-country Shrimp and Grits from Jenna Weber’s White Jacket Required”

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    Chung-Ah | Damn Delicious — September 4, 2012 at 6:50 am

    So jealous that you got to guest post for her. Jenna is amazing! I really need to get a copy of her book and I definitely need to make this ASAP! I’ve never cooked with grits before but I’m super excited to give it a try!

    • simplyscratch replied: — September 4th, 2012 @ 2:39 pm

      Chung-ah they are literally SO easy! I’m now thinking of other ways I can shovel them into my face! :)

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    Poetesswug — September 4, 2012 at 10:10 am

    That recipe looks delicious!!!…I never heard of this blog before, so I just went by to say hi and congratulate her on her new venture!!…This was a very good post to introduce her. Thanks for sharing!

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    Rachel Cooks — September 4, 2012 at 11:56 am

    I need this book! I don’t even like shrimp and I want to jump into that bowl!

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    Bill Knox — September 4, 2012 at 12:16 pm

    yummmmmm .. tempted to have for breakfast !!

    • simplyscratch replied: — September 4th, 2012 @ 2:45 pm

      Me too, the leftovers are calling my name!

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    Rachel @ Baked by Rachel — September 4, 2012 at 12:57 pm

    I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy. This is such a fun recipe!

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    Eat.Style.Play — September 4, 2012 at 12:58 pm

    I didn’t know she had a book out, but this looks delicious I love her blog!

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    Lindsey — September 4, 2012 at 1:38 pm

    When my parents first started going to Louisiana every year they introduced me to Crystal. It’s WAY WAY better than Frank’s, and not as hot. It’s made there, and it ah-mazing. I bet it would taste great on this Shrimp&Grits dish! Thanks for posting :)

    • simplyscratch replied: — September 4th, 2012 @ 2:46 pm

      Hmmm I’ll have to try and find it. Like I said, I’m not the biggest Frank’s fan… so I’m open to trying other hot sauces for sure!

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    Julie @ Table for Two — September 4, 2012 at 1:48 pm

    I can’t wait to read her book :) I’m ordering it now!

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    Bev @ Bev Cooks — September 4, 2012 at 4:24 pm

    Duuuuuuude I wanted to make that too! And I think I will.

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    DessertForTwo — September 4, 2012 at 5:40 pm

    This is on my list of must-makes, too!

    I feel like Jenna gave me my ‘break’ in blogging too :)

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    Kari@Loaves and Dishes — September 4, 2012 at 6:06 pm

    This looks delish! I don’t know Jenna, but I am heading to her blog right now.

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    Jen @ Savory Simple — September 5, 2012 at 4:42 pm

    I’m very excited to read this! I went back to culinary school is well and I love ready about other’s experiences. This recipe sounds fantastic.

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    JulieD — September 5, 2012 at 5:16 pm

    Wow, that looks incredible. This recipe is on my list to try…now I want to try it even more!! I loved Jenna’s book…so excited for her!

    • simplyscratch replied: — September 5th, 2012 @ 6:07 pm

      I know Julie! I was so torn between the pasta with clam sauce and the shrimp and grits! After seeing your post I put it on my calender to make when my husbands hunting! :)

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    Erin @ Dinners, Dishes and Desserts — September 5, 2012 at 7:40 pm

    I have been waiting for this book! It is on my wish list for sure. These shrimp and grits look amazing!

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    Enybe — July 21, 2014 at 3:11 pm

    I am so glad I found your website!!!!!!!!!!!!

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