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      Easy Shrimp and Grits with Sweet Peppers, 10/14/2011

      Vanessa Barranco

      Whole Foods

      Serves 4

      Breakfast, brunch or lunch for a crowd of house guests is not always easy and affordable. This recipe fills them up without draining your wallet. Double it by making twice the grits and sauteing the vegetables and shrimp in batches to keep from crowding the skillet while they cook. Our bacon is fantastic, contains no synthetic nitrates/nitrites, and our strict welfare standards apply to the pigs it comes from. That said, you can make a very delish vegetarian batch by replacing the bacon with sliced mushrooms and olive oil, and omitting the shrimp.


      3 slices uncured bacon 1 cup white or yellow grits Salt and ground black pepper to taste 1 small yellow onion, sliced 2 cloves garlic, chopped 2 green or red bell peppers, cored, seeded and sliced 1/3 pound peeled and deveined raw shrimp (fresh or frozen and thawed) 2 tablespoons lemon juice 2 teaspoons hot sauce, plus more for serving (optional)


      Cook bacon in a large, deep skillet over medium heat, flipping once, until crisp, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate. Pour off and reserve all but one teaspoon bacon fat from skillet. Set aside off heat. Meanwhile, bring 3 1/2 cups salted water to a boil in a medium pot. Whisk in grits, reduce heat to medium low and simmer until thick and tender, 6 to 8 minutes. (Some grits have different cooking times, so adjust water and cooking time as needed.) Reheat the one teaspoon bacon fat over medium-high heat; add onions, garlic, peppers, salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown and tender, 6 to 8 minutes. Move onion mixture to one side of the skillet and add another teaspoon bacon fat. Add shrimp, season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until just cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes. Add lemon juice and hot sauce. Toss shrimp and onion mixture together. Spoon hot grits into bowls and top with shrimp mixture. Crumble bacon over the top and serve with additional hot sauce on the side.