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Happy New Year! Your Gift….The Original Shrimp and Grits Recipe!

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Thank You for reading my blog in 2013.  There are exciting things happening for Lisa Mende Design in 2014!  I can’t wait to share!  Today we are having our typical New Year’s Day fare of Shrimp and Grits, Hopping John, Pork Tenderloin, Collards and angel biscuits so I’d better get in the kitchen and start cooking!  After our meal, I’ll be spending the afternoon writing down my dreams and goals for next year.  You are a big part of my plan for 2014.  I will be revealing the details very soon until then enjoy the day with your family! 
In case you are wondering about my menu, it comes from Bill Neal’s Cookbook Southern Cooking and can be found here.  This book is a compilation of true southern goodness. Bill Neal is a legend in North Carolina.  His restaurant, Crook’s Corner is still one of my family’s favorite places to eat when in Chapel Hill, NC for UNC ballgames. Today the restaurant is led by Chef Bill Smith. Bill Neal authored several cookbooks during his lifetime and one was entirely about grits which tells you grits were important to him.  As far as I am concerned, Bill Neal is the the creator of the “authentic Shrimp and Grits recipe”.  His recipe is the absolute best in my book. 
Years ago my friend Julia started cooking Shrimp and Grits and Hopping John for New Years Day and the tradition stuck.  My family looks forward to this New Year’s Day menu.  
Bill Neal’s Shrimp and Grits Recipe

Yield: 4 servings ( I triple)


2 cups water  
One 14 1/2 ounce can chicken broth 
3/4 cup half and half 
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup stone ground grits
3/4 cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated
1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon tabasco sauce
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
3 slices bacon
1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup flour
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1/2 cup scallions, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup chicken broth
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon tabasco sauce
lemon wedges

Bring first 4 ingredients to a boil, in a medium saucepan. Gradually whisk in grits; reduce to simmer, stirring occasionally, until thickened, according to time on package. When the grits are done, stir in the cheddar cheese and next 4 ingredients, stirring until cheeses are melted. Cover and set aside, but keep warm.

While the grits are cooking, fry in bacon in a large skillet, until crisp. Set aside on paper towel and reserve 1 tablespoon of drippings in skillet. Sprinkle the shrimp with salt and pepper, dredge in flour, and set aside.
In the bacon drippings, saute the mushrooms about 5 minutes, or until tender. Add the scallions and cook for 2 more minutes. Add the shrimp and cook for 2 minutes, until the shrimp begin to brown. Stir in the chicken broth, lemon juice, garlic, and hot sauce, and continue to cook 2 more minutes, stirring to loosen brown bits from skillet.
 Divide the grits into 4 large, shallow bowls, ladle the shrimp mixture over the grits, and top each with crumbled bacon. Serve with lemon wedges.


Of course if you are cooking shrimp and grits Bill Neal style you must also cook his Hopping John recipe, after all it is New Year’s Day and you must eat black eye peas!
Yields 4 to 6 servings ( I triple)


Southerners may make resolutions for the New Year, but they know success (or lack of it) depends more on what is eaten on 1 January than on all the good intentions in the world. More black-eyed peas and collards are consumed on that day than any other time of the year–part of an antique gastronomic insurance policy. Collards are for a steady supply of folding green in the coming year; black-eyed peas for plenty of pocket change. Hoppin’ John is a sort of jambalaya with a light touch. Do not stew the different elements into a homogeneous mush. Each pea, grain of rice, chunk of tomato, and piece of scallion should retain its individual identity, flavor, and texture.
2 cups (475 ml) cooked Black-eyed Peas
2 cups (475 ml) cooked rice
1 cup (235 ml) chopped fresh tomato
1/2 (118 ml) finely chopped scallions
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Cheddar cheese, grated (optional)


Recommended equipment: A 12-inch (30 cm) cast-iron skillet or enameled cast-iron sauté pan with cover. Heat the peas and rice separately if cold. (Add 3 tablespoons water to cold rice, cover, and steam briefly.) Combine lightly in the skillet or sauté pan, sprinkle the chopped tomato and scallions over all, and season with salt and pepper. Cover and heat through. Add grated cheddar cheese when serving, if desired.  Note: I make the rice and then add everything together. That is how my family likes it.  Make sure to serve with Tabasco sauce!  It’s actually good as leftovers the next day too.
Angel Biscuits
  • 2 packages active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup warm water (100 to 110 degrees)
  • 5 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces, plus 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted and cooled, for brushing
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  1. STEP 1

    Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Butter a baking sheet or line it with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. STEP 2

    Dissolve the yeast in the warm water and let stand until foamy, about 5 to 10 minutes.
  3. STEP 3

    Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, and salt together into a large bowl. Transfer half of the dry ingredients to the bowl of a food processor and cut in the cold butter, pulsing, until the mixture resembles coarse meal, with some larger pieces of butter still remaining. Transfer the mixture back to the bowl with the dry ingredients and mix to combine. Make a well in the center of the bowl and add the yeast mixture and buttermilk. Stir until a dough forms and turn out onto a floured board. Kneed until the dough is smooth and no longer sticky, about 5 minutes.
  4. STEP 4

    Roll out the dough to a thickness of 1/2 inch, and cut out 1 1/2-inch rounds with a biscuit cutter. Set the biscuits 2 inches apart on the baking sheet, brush the tops with melted butter, and bake until lightly golden (they should not brown), 10 to 12 minutes.
    Pork Tenderloin 
    2 1/2 lb boneless pork loin
    1 1/4 cups brown sugar 
    2/3 cup sugar
    3 tbsp coarsely ground black pepper
    2 tbsp kosher salt
    2 tsp ground ginger
    4 1/2 tsp garlic powder
    4 1/2 tsp onion salt
    1 Tbsp dry mustard
    1 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
    1 1/2 tsp paprika
    1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
    3/4 tsp dried thyme crushed
    Stir together brown sugar, sugar, black pepper, salt, ginger, garlic powder, onion salt, dry mustard, crushed red pepper, ground red pepper, cumin, paprika and thyme in small bowl. Heat oven to 325 degrees F. Sprinkle 1/2 cup of the brown sugar mixture* evenly on all sides of the pork roast; use your fingers to rub into pork. Place roast on rack in shallow roasting pan. Roast, uncovered, until the internal temperature is 145 degrees F (63 degrees C), about 40 minutes to 1 hour. Remove from oven. Cover with foil; let stand 15 minutes before slicing.  Makes about 3 1/2 cups of dry rub.  It won’t take the entire amount but any leftovers can be stored in an airtight container for 3 months.  
    Of course this meal isn’t complete without pepper relish from Kitchen Kettle Village!  We also adore their pickled beets!
    This is a true Southern menu, loaded with carbs, and southern goodness!!!!
    You can make it lighter, but I’ve done that and I suggest going “whole hog” and
    having this plate of Heaven just one day of the year!  Enjoy!
    My only regret is my friend Julia isn’t here so we could cook them together as
    we did so many years ago!  This post is dedicated to her!  
    Happy New Year Julia!  
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