What better way to kick off my Thanksgiving festivities than being on the TODAY Show?
Representing the Great State of Arkansas (see below) on the TODAY Show with chefs from all 50 States, Washington, D.C. AND Puerto, in what was cleverly called United Plates of Thanksgiving!
It was a blast meeting new chef friends and catching up with old . . . and if I'm being honest standing side by side to some of my TODAY Show crushes, ( Hoda Kotb, Jenna Bush Hager, Don Lemon and Al Rocker), was marshmallows on the sweet potato casserole!
What was my Thanksgiving contribution?
My Pimento Cheese Stuffed Deviled Eggs w/ Bacon & Fried Shrimp!
Let that sink in a minute-pimento cheese . . . bacon and fried shrimp.
Thanksgiving is the perfect holiday to celebrate with family, friends and lots of really great food. Two of my favorite foods are fried shrimp and pimento cheese and so I created a twist to one of Arkansas' top iconic foods - the deviled egg.
I'll be the first to admit that sometimes holiday cooking gets a little hectic so I'm always on the lookout for a tasty shortcut or kitchen hack. Which is why I'm not shy about using a good quality frozen shrimp when I can't get my hands on fresh, and who has time during the holidays to do it all, so I head down the frozen food aisle and grab my favorite brand of seasoned fried popcorn shrimp for my topping, SeaPak. For my friends who don’t like to cook and/or don’t do it often, they are excited to see an easier addition like this to the recipe, which takes out the intimidation of preparing fresh seafood.
Here's my recipe-feel free to add it to your holiday menu!
Pimento Cheese Stuffed Deviled Eggs & Popcorn Shrimp
Recipe courtesy of chef Jennifer Hill Booker
Serving Size: about 12
Time To Prep (mm): 30 minutes including peeling the boiled eggs.
Time To Cook (mm): 20 minutes to boil the eggs
Special Kitchen Equipment Option: a cooling rack with small squares
Technique Tip: Use the cooling rack to push the boiled egg yolks through. Saves on chopping the yolks AND on clean up!
Swap Option: Use frozen shrimp for ease, speed, and convenience of preparation.
o 2 dozen eggs
o 1½ cups extra-sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
o 1 cup mild cheddar cheese, shredded
o 1/2 cup hickory smoked bacon, cooked and cut into 1/4 pieces
o 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
o 3/4 cup mayonnaise
o 1/4 cup onion, minced
o 1 large clove garlic, minced
o One 4-ounce jar diced pimentos, drained
o 1 teaspoon paprika
o 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
o Sea salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste
o 1/4 cup cooked hickory smoked bacon, crumbled
o 24 fried SeaPak popcorn shrimp
o 4 scallions, green and white parts, chopped
Recipe Steps (listed)
1. In a large saucepan, place eggs in a single layer and cover with enough water to cover the eggs with 1½ inches of water above the eggs.
2. Heat, uncovered, over medium high heat until water begins to boil; cover, reduce the heat to low, and cook for 1 minute.
3. Remove the saucepan from the heat and leave, covered, for 14 minutes, then rinse under cold running water for 1 minute.
4. Remove the eggs from the water, gently crack the eggshells and carefully peel under cool running water. Blot the eggs dry with paper towels.
5. Slice the eggs in half lengthwise and remove the yolks. Place half of the yolks into a large bowl and all of the whites on a large serving platter. Save the remaining yolks for another use.
6. Mash the egg yolks into a fine crumble using the back of a dinner fork.
7. Add cheddar, 1/2 cup bacon, cream cheese, mayonnaise, onion, garlic, pimentos, paprika, cayenne, salt and pepper and using a rubber spatula mix until well combined. (You can also make the filling in the bowl of a stand mixer, using the paddle attachment.)
8. Heat popcorn shrimp in the oven, per instructions on box.
9. Season to taste, with salt and black pepper.
10. Using a spoon or piping bag, evenly divide the deviled egg mixture into the egg whites.
11. Garnish with crispy bacon, scallions and fried popcorn shrimp.