Wild Texas Shrimp with “Biscuits and Gravy” by Chef Randy Evans, You gotta try this one!

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This year for Father’s day I decided to fix one of Chef Randy Evan’s dishes.  For those of you that don’t know who Chef Randy is you are seriously missing out!  I first met Chef Randy at Brennan’s in Houston.  He’s amazing to say the least. A few years ago he opened his own place called Haven.  It features fresh local ingredients and the menu is to die for good.  Please go try Haven if you get the chance!  Even though this recipe is a little more involved than what I usually cook I must say it is well worth the effort.  Thanks Chef Randy for allowing me to post it and share with others.  I did take a couple of short cuts but for the most part this was easily a do ahead type of recipe and it comes together nicely at the end.  Make some friends and cook this today! 

For this recipe I had to make a few modifications due to time restraints.  Honestly, I goofed and read the recipe too late to make the Honey-Cured Bacon lardons. So I opted for using some Tasso ham that I had on hand.  Plan ahead and be prepared, I’m sure it will enhance the taste considerably.  Chef Randy has a method to his madness I assure you! He takes the time to make sure each layer of flavor is complimentary and it’s magical when it all comes together in the end.

1/2 cup Honey-Cured Bacon Lardons (recipe to follow)

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

30 white Texas shrimp (9-12 count heads on)

Kosher salt to taste

Cayenne pepper to taste

2 tablespoons white wine

1/4 cup Texas honey

1 recipe Shrimp Gravy

1 recipe Buttermilk Biscuit Pudding

1/4 cup bias-cut green onions

Honey-Cured Bacon Lardons

10 ounces kosher salt

1 cup honey

1 pork belly (5 pounds)

To cure: Combine the salts and honey, mix thoroughly. Rub over the pork belly, making sure to cover all areas. Place in a plastic tub, skin side down. Cover and refrigerate for 10 days, overhauling (rubbing and rotating) every other day.

To dry: Rinse the pork with cool water and soak for 1 hour to remove excess salt. Using a bacon hook, hand in the refrigerator to air-dry for 18 hours. If you do not have room to hang the cured belly, place on a wire rack on a sheet pan on the top shelf of the refrigerator.

To smoke: Start your smoker with your favorite wood (Chef Randy prefers apple or cherry). Regulate the heat to reach a constant temperature of 185º. Smoke the belly until the internal temperature is 150º. Remove and cool.  Evenly trim sides o bacon to form straight sides. Use trimmings in soups or sauces. Cover and refrigerate bacon for up to 1 week or vacuum seal and freeze for up to 1 year.

Buttermilk Biscuits

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 tablespoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons cold shortening

1/2 cup cold buttermilk

Buttermilk Biscuit Pudding

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

1 1/2 cups julienned sweet onion

1/2 cup sliced leeks (white part only)

1/4 cup sliced shallots

2 cloves shaved garlic

1/4 cup minced celery

1 recipe Buttermilk Biscuits

1/2 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme

1/4 cup chopped green onions

2 eggs

1 cup heavy cream

salt and black pepper to taste

Shrimp Gravy

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

1 shallot, roughly chopped

1/2 tablespoon tomato paste

1/4 cup brandy

1/4 cup vermouth

1 teaspoon black peppercorns

1 bay leaf

1 sprig thyme

2 cups shrimp stock

1 cup heavy whipping cream

For the Biscuits:

In a small mixing bowl, combine the dry ingredients. Cut in shortening. Add buttermilk and mix just until combined. Roll out on a floured surface 1/2 inch thick. Cut 6 biscuits. Place on a baking sheet. Bake at 325º for 20 minutes.

  • I did this ahead of time.

For the Pudding:

Melt butter in a medium saute’ pan on medium low heat. Add the onion, leeks, shallots and garlic; cook until caramelized.  Add celery and cook until tender. Crumble the  baked biscuits into a mixing bowl; fold in the onion mixture, thyme and green onions. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs and cream. Pour over biscuit mixture and fold together.  Season with salt and pepper.  Spoon into greased 21/2 inch steel rings or biscuit cutters. Bake at 300º for 20-25 minutes. Keep warm.

*I had all veggies sautéed ahead of time and ready to be mixed with the crumbled biscuits.

For the Gravy:

Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a small sauce pan over medium-low heat: sweat shallot until translucent. Add tomato paste and cook until caramelized. Deglaze pan with brandy and vermouth. Add peppercorns, bay leaf, and thyme. Reduce until almost dry. Add stock and cream; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low; simmer for 1 hour or until the sauce almost coats the back of a spoon. Strain through a fine mesh strainer. Keep warm.

*I made this ahead of time and just reheated before serving.

For the Shrimp:

Heat a small sauté pan over medium-high heat; render bacon lardons until crispy. Set aside. Heat oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Peel and devein shrimp, being careful not to loosen their heads or tails, season with salt; sauté in oil. Sprinkle with cayenne. Once the shrimp are almost cooked, but still slightly gray in the center, deglaze pan with wine and honey. Allow shrimp to cook through; remove from pan and keep warm. Emulsify 1 tablespoon cold butter into the honey glaze.

*I peeled and deveined shrimp ahead of time.

To plate:

Bring shrimp gravy to a boil; remove from heat. Add remaining cold butter and emulsify with a handheld blender. Place a biscuit pudding in the center of the plate. Surround with a pool of gravy and arrange shrimp around pudding. Drizzle with honey glaze; sprinkle with green onions and bacon lardons.

Chef Randy’s cook book is a fantastic book to get if you want some neat recipes to have on hand.  I made the chilled strawberry soup with basil champagne sorbet and basil oil along with the heirloom tomato salad and Meyer lemon ice cream to complete my Father’s day meal.  All recipes were in his book.   You can find it on Amazon.com

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