Making comfort food in a hurry? Try this Instant Pot shrimp and grits with bacon, cheese
Shrimp and grits are a cozy meal that can feed a crowd, but it can take a while to cook each element, especially if you're not accustomed to cooking (and stirring) grits that are cooking on a stove.
Melissa Clark, the New York Times columnist and author of several bestselling cookbooks, knows that a multi-cooker will make quick work of just about any comfort food, which was the focus of her 2018 book, "Comfort in an Instant."
This recipe is a good example of how you can cook multiple elements of a dish in an Instant Pot at the same time by taking advantage of the wire racks that come with them. By sauteing aromatics and tomatoes in the bottom of the pot and placing a bowl of grits on top, you can keep the grits and the tomato bacon mixture separate until serving. The shrimp cook so quickly that you won't cook them under pressure, but instead, you'll cook them in the tomato mixture after the sauce and grits have cooked under pressure.
Unless you have a really small multicooker, you should be able to double this recipe without trouble, as long as you can find a bowl that fits inside the bowl and holds the grits.
Shrimp and Grits with Bacon and Cheddar
1 1/2 pounds peeled and deveined large shrimp
1 1/2 tablespoons Old Bay seasoning
2 slices smoked bacon, diced
1 small onion, diced
1 small red bell pepper, diced
1 jalapeño, seeded (if desired) and diced
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more if needed
1/2 cup old-fashioned or stone-ground grits
1 cup whole milk
3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese (3 ounces)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Sliced scallions, for serving
Hot sauce and/or lemon wedges, for serving
In a large bowl, combine the shrimp and Old Bay seasoning. Cover and let marinate at room temperature while you prepare the remaining ingredients.
Using the sauté function, scatter the bacon into the pressure cooker pot and cook, stirring frequently, until browned and the fat has rendered, 10 to 12 minutes. Leaving the fat in the pan, transfer the bacon with a slotted spoon to a plate lined with paper towels.
Stir the onion, bell pepper, jalapeño and garlic into the pot. Cook until softened and translucent, about 5 minutes.
Stir in the tomatoes and 1/2 teaspoon of the salt, scraping up any browned bits on the bottom, and turn off the sauté function.
In a medium metal (not glass) bowl that fits in the pressure cooker, stir together the grits, milk, 1 cup water and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt. If your steamer rack has handles, place the bowl on the rack and lower everything into the pressure cooker pot, setting it over the tomato mixture. If your rack does not have handles, first place the rack in the pot, then lower in the bowl using a homemade sling.
Lock the lid into place and cook on high pressure for 10 minutes. Let the pressure release naturally.
Carefully remove the bowl from the pressure cooker, using the sling or oven mitts. Stir the cheddar and butter into the grits, adding more milk or water to reach your desired consistency. Taste and add more salt if needed.
Using the sauté function, stir the marinated shrimp and lemon juice into the tomato mixture in the pressure cooker pot and cook, stirring frequently, until the shrimp are cooked through, 3 to 5 minutes.
To serve, spoon the grits onto serving bowls and top with the shrimp and tomato mixture, reserved bacon, scallions, and hot sauce and/or lemon wedges on the side. Serves 4.
— From "Comfort in an Instant:75 Comfort Food Recipes for Your Pressure Cooker, Multicooker and Instant Pot" by Melissa Clark (Clarkson Potter, $22)