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Author Notes: This recipe is my, not so traditional, version of a Southern Classic comfort food dish, “Shrimp and Grits”. While it seems complicated, it’s actually really easy to make and parts of the dish, such as the Red Bell Pepper Jam and the Smoked sausage sauce, can be made ahead and so can be homemade Fish stock if you like to make your own instead of clam juice. You’ll have a good amount of dishes to wash afterwards, but I guarantee the plates will be cleaned by your family or guests. The flavors all work together perfectly and that Red Bell Pepper Jam makes it! I served this dish over creamy polenta, but it would be also very tasty over mashed potatoes, rice or pasta and the fantastic spicy, sweet and tangy Red Bell Pepper Jam I am sure will become one of your favorite condiments. This jam can be mixed into broth when steaming mussels or clams or used as a dipping sauce for many deep fried dishes. —Kukla
For the Red Bell Pepper Jam (makes 1 full cup)
- • 4 meaty red bell peppers+ 1 red jalapeño pepper washed, halved, seeds and membranes removed
- • 1 large garlic clove, peeled and diced
- • 1/3 cup brown sugar
- • 1/4 cup sherry vinegar
- • 1/4 cup soy sauce
- Preheat your broiler. Place only the bell pepper halves (leave the jalapeno raw), cut-side down on a baking sheet; spray with cooking spray the skins of the peppers; transfer to the upper rack of the oven and broil until the skins are charred and peppers soften, about 25 to 30 minutes.
- Cool slightly and then peel. Place the roasted peppers, jalapeño, garlic and brown sugar in the bowl of a food processor and puree until smooth.
- Transfer the mixture to a saucepan and heat over medium-high; add sherry vinegar, soy sauce and 1/4 cup water; bring to a boil. Cook, stirring often, until the liquid has evaporated and the peppers have a jam-like consistency, 25 to 30 minutes. Cool and refrigerate. Can be made 1 week in advance.
For the Smoked Sausage and Red Bell Pepper Jam sauce
- • 1 tablespoon olive oil
- • 4 ounces any good quality smoked sausage, roughly chopped
- • 2 garlic cloves, minced
- • 1 medium shallot, diced
- • 1 teaspoon toasted cumin
- • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- • A pinch cayenne pepper
- • 1 cup clam juice or homemade fish stock from shrimp shells and tails
- • 1/2 cup Red Bell Pepper jam
- • 2 tablespoons butter
- • 20 Wild Jumbo Shrimp, peeled and deveined, (if making your own fish stock), shells reserved
- • 4 organic extra-large eggs for serving, fried or poached(optional)
- To a sauté pan over medium heat, add the olive oil and sweat the sausage until the fat starts to render, about 2 minutes. Then add the garlic and shallots. Cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the cumin, smoked paprika and cayenne pepper and cook stirring for about 1-2 minutes more.
- Deglaze with clam juice or homemade fish stock and add the red bell pepper jam. Allow to reduce by about 3/4. Finish with the butter and keep warm until ready to serve or cool and refrigerate. Can be made 1 day ahead.
- When ready to serve, add the shrimp and cook for about 2 minutes per side. Fry or poach the eggs according to your preference. Serve hot over Polenta or Grits and top with the fried egg. Garnish with some more of the Red Bell Pepper Jam.
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Shellfish