Patrick Newman, the Executive Chef of Sonesta Bee Cave Austin, shares a recipe and more.
The shrimp and grits recipe is as follows:
FOR THE GRITS
2 C Grist Mills White Stone Ground Grits or other high-quality, freshly-ground grits
8 C Spring water
3 Fresh bay leaves
Juice from one wedge of lemon
FOR THE SHRIMP
20 Large head-on shrimp smoked
1 C Smoked bacon, diced
4 T Lard
1 Large shallot, minced
2 Cloves garlic, shaved thin
1 1/2 C Diced Fresh Tomatoes
1 T Tomato paste
3 C Heavy Cream
2 Qt. Shrimp stock
4 Fresh bay leaves
1 T Smoked paprika
Freshly-squeezed lemon juice
Chives For Garnish
FOR THE GRITS: In a large mixing bowl, combine the grits and the water. Allow to sit overnight on the counter (optional). The next day, skim the top of the surface to remove the chaff. Strain the grits, pouring water into a stock pot, reserving the grits.
Bring water to a boil. Reduce heat to a low simmer and carefully whisk in the grits in several additions. Whisk constantly until the grits return to a low boil and are emulsified with the water. Add the bay leaves, gently crushing the leaves in your hand. Adjust heat to low and simmer, covered, for 45 minutes to one hour, stirring frequently with a spatula, being careful to scrape the sides of the pot and adding any extra water as necessary to achieve the right consistency (not too runny, not too thick). (Note: You may want to prep your shrimp at this time, using the heads and peels to start the stock -- see Step 6)
After the grits are cooked (soft, fluffy and creamy), stir in the butter and season with salt (about 1 tsp.), white pepper, and lemon juice to taste . Reserve, covered.
FOR THE SHRIMP: Clean the shrimp: Remove the shells and heads from the shrimp; reserve the shells and heads for stock. Gently slice down the length of each shrimp and devein the shrimp, being careful to keep any roe. Have your smoker AT 225F with green pecan wood adding the smoke, place 5 shrimp on wooden skewers that have soaked in water for one hour, place the shrimp in the smoker and let sit for 12 minutes, remove and immediately refrigerate until they are at 40F.
In a large saute pan over medium-high heat, add 2 tablespoons lard. When the lard shimmers, add the bacon. Turn heat to low and allow bacon to render, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, mince shallot; add to bacon. Slice garlic; add to bacon and shallots. Let cook for 1 to 2 minutes, until garlic and shallot are softened. When bacon is finished cooking, strain the fat from the pan.
Make tomato-shrimp broth by searing the shrimp shells and heads, then combining it with the preserved tomato, tomato paste, 2 bay leaves, and vegetable stock. Bring to a simmer for 2 hours. Strain and discard the solids. Place the stock back into the pot and reduce by half over high heat. Add 2 cups of the reduced shrimp stock to the bacon pan, freezing the rest for later use. Bring to a simmer, add your heavy cream and reduce by half.
Add the shrimp in a single layer over reduction, lightly season with salt, and cook at a very low simmer for 3 minutes, or until shrimp are cooked through, turning shrimp over halfway through cooking.
TO SERVE: Spoon grits into a bowl. Spoon shrimp, bacon mixture over grits with broth. Season with salt, smoked paprika, and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. Garnish with freshly-minced chives.