Mama Yolanda's Shrimp & Grits a la Vodka

Recipe: Created by Chef Darek W. Haupt, CEC for Mama Yolanda’s Traditional Sauces®, LLC
Level of Difficulty: Intermediate
Yield: 4 portions with 8 shrimp each
Prep time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
Total time: 1 hour
4 slices Applewood bacon
1/4 cup Extra virgin olive oil
4 Cloves fresh garlic, chopped (substitution not recommended, if possible)
1/2 cup Spanish onion, small dice
32 Frozen cooked extra-large peeled & de-veined shrimp (26-30 size)
8 leaves Chives, fresh, chopped (substitution not recommended)
1 cup Stone-ground grits (less-recommended substitution – 8 packages instant grits )
4 cups Water
2 tbsp Butter, lightly salted
1 tsp Garlic salt
1 – 24 oz. jar Mama Yolanda’s Traditional Sauces® Classic Vodka Sauce
3 oz Sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (about 1 cup)
3 oz Fontina cheese (about 1 cup)
  1. Microwave or pan fry bacon until crisp, yet pliable, and easy to cut. Drain fat. When cooled, finely chop the bacon and set aside.
  2. Put 1/8 cup of extra virgin olive oil into a large sauce pot. Add garlic and onion. Saute on medium-high heat until lightly caramelized. Add water and set the pot aside.
  3. Thaw the shrimp in cold water. Drain and dry the shrimp with paper towels. Partially slice the backs of the shrimp, head to tail, so they will expand during roasting. Place all shrimp in a mixing bowl. Coat with remaining 1/8 cup extra virgin olive oil and the garlic salt. Mix well. Lay shrimp evenly on a roasting pan and set aside.
  4. Put pot with the onion and garlic water back on the burner and bring to a boil over high heat. Lower heat to simmer.
  5. Using a sturdy wire whisk, slowly and continuously add stone-ground grits to the simmering water. Stir and cook grits 20-25 minutes or until water is absorbed. (If using instant grits, microwave 8 packages of grits with 4 cups of water.)
  6. Add the butter and both cheeses into the grits, mixing well. Set aside and keep warm.
  7. Into an 2 quart pot, empty the jar of Mama Yolanda’s Traditional Sauces® Classic Vodka Sauce and warm on low heat. Set aside and keep warm.
  8. Turn broiler on high. Place pan with shrimp on rack one position below the top. (Position B) Broil shrimp until expanded and hot, about 4-5 minutes. Remove from heat.
  9. Put 1/4 of the cheese grits on the center of each dinner plate. Using a large spoon, make a 3-4” circular depression in the center of the grits.
  10. Ladle heated Vodka Sauce in the center of the grits.
  11. Place 8 shrimp on top of the Vodka Sauce in an artistic circle.
  12. Place 1/4 of the chopped bacon in the center of the shrimp.
  13. Sprinkle reserved chopped chives over bacon and shrimp; serve immediately
Serving suggestion: Pair with chilled chardonnay or sauvignon blanc or your favorite ice-cold cola