photograph by Matt Hulsman

This recipe won first place in the Lowes Foods’Local Flavor Recipe Contest: Craft Beer edition. The submitter, Nicole Hood, writes:

We love shrimp and grits around here, and this recipe with a hint of fall gets big thumbs up! The subtle addition of pumpkin in the grits makes them extra creamy and poaching the fresh North Carolina shrimp in pumpkin ale adds just the right touch to give them another layer of flavor too.

4 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
2¼ cups water
½ cup canned pumpkin
½ cup heavy cream
¾ cup quick grits
½ teaspoon salt
½ large Vidalia onion, sliced
20 ounces pumpkin ale
1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
½ cup shredded Parmesan cheese
Cracked black pepper, to taste
¼ cup diced green onions

Cook and drain bacon, reserving drippings. Set aside.

Bring water to a boil in a large saucepan over medium heat.

Whisk in pumpkin, heavy cream, grits, and a 1/2 teaspoon or so of salt.

Turn down heat to medium low, cover, and simmer for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a skillet over medium heat, add about 1 tablespoon of reserved bacon grease (or olive oil). Add sliced onions and cook until softened.
Add about 2 ounces of the beer to onions and steam them until beer is absorbed. Remove from heat.

In a small saucepan, add remaining beer and bring to a slow simmer over medium heat. Add shrimp, stirring occasionally, and poach in the beer until pink, about 3-4 minutes. Remove shrimp immediately from poaching liquid to a bowl.

Add grits to a large bowl and stir in bacon, onions, Parmesan cheese, and black pepper.

Divide grits into 2 serving bowls. Top each with half the shrimp and garnish with green onions and additional Parmesan cheese if desired.

Tip: Serve with a side of sautéed spinach or kale.

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