I've been all over Bon Appetit magazine lately. Seeing their magazine really inspires me to try new recipes even if they are sometimes overly complicated. This Bacon-Infused Carolina Fish Muddle was a perfect use for some of the fish we have in the freezer so I gave it a go, with some changes of course. After trying it, I would say it needs a little extra something. If I made it again I would definitely add some chopped fennel bulb to the sauteed veggies and kick up the heat with some extra jalapeno, hot sauce or Cajun hot seasoning. I cut the recipe in 1/2 and easily had enough to serve 4 people. I skipped the toast but it sounds pretty good, doesnt it?! I served it one night with grits and the other night over brown rice and surprisingly I liked the rice better. I posted what I did below but you can get the original recipe here.
Ingredients (for 4 servings)
1/2poundwild American shrimp, peeled, deveined, shells reserved (I used Key West Pinks)
4 sprigs thyme
2 bay leaves
1 28-ounce can/box chopped or diced tomatoes with juices
1/2poundslab bacon, cut into 1/2" cubes, or thick-cut bacon, sliced into 1/2" strips
2 celery stalks, finely chopped
2 carrots, finely chopped
1 onions, finely chopped
1/2leek (white and pale-green parts only), finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/4jalapeño (with seeds), finely chopped (I used about a teaspoon of the jarred pre-diced type)
1/2poundnew potatoes, peeled, cut into 1/2" cubes
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
Hot pepper sauce (optional)
1/2pound snapper fillet, cut into 1"–2" pieces
1/2poundblack or red grouper fillet, cut into 1"–2" pieces
Sliced baguette, toasted
Cooked stone-ground grits or rice
Chopped flat-leaf parsley
Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add shrimp shells and cook, stirring constantly, until pink. Add 1 1/2 cups water and bring to a simmer. Cook gently until liquid is reduced to about 1 cup. Strain stock, discarding shells. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill stock and shrimp separately.
Tie thyme sprigs and bay leaves into a bundle with kitchen twine; set aside. Heat bacon in a large Dutch oven over medium-low heat; cook, stirring occasionally, until some of fat is rendered and bacon is just beginning to crisp, 10–15 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer bacon to paper towels to drain; reserve 2 Tbsp. bacon drippings for croutons.
Add celery, carrots, onions, and leek to pot. Increase heat to medium and cook until vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes. Add garlic, jalapeño, and herb bundle; cook for 2 minutes. Add tomato; cook, stirring often, for 20 minutes. Add shrimp stock (or, if omitting the first step, add 2 cups fish stock) and bring to a simmer. Add potatoes and cooked bacon and simmer until potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes. Season stew with salt, pepper, and hot pepper sauce, if desired.
Add fish and shrimp; bring to a gentle simmer. Cover; cook until fish and shrimp are just opaque in center, about 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, brush bacon fat onto toast to make croutons. Ladle muddle into bowls over grits or rice, sprinkle with parsley, and garnish each bowl with a crouton.