Bacon Wrapped Jalapeño Shrimp with Cherry Cola Sauce

January 24, 2018

Bacon Wrapped Jalapeno Shrimp w/ Cherry Cola Sauce

Let me count the ways I love this recipe! 1) bacon (love!), 2) shrimp (ditto), 3) spicy jalapeño (yep, love 'em), 4) and a sweet-savory cola sauce (I could totally get on board with that). Seriously, what's not to love, love, love, LOVE about these babies?

This scrumptious recipe is from one of our beloved television stars, Valerie Bertinelli, now Food Network star. In her newest cookbook, Valerie's Home Cooking, which bears the same name as her show, you'll salivate over more than 100 easy and innovative recipes for every meal of the day. Try tasty recipes such as her Baked Brie with Almonds and Mango, easy Brown Sugar Sriracha Bacon Bites (mmm, bacon candy!), Chicken Satay with Peanut Sauce (based on Mrs. Van Halen's Gado Gado recipe), and S’mores Popcorn. From breakfast dishes to sweet treats, you'll find inspiring meals to satiate friends and family alike.

Bacon-Wrapped Jalapeño Shrimp with Cherry Cola BBQ Sauce

"Back when we had a house in Park City, Utah, we frequented an Italian restaurant so often they put a sign above our regular table that said, “Wolfie’s Booth.” The reason we were at the restaurant so often? Their bacon-wrapped jalapeño shrimp. (Hold on a moment while I savor the memory of them. Seriously, my mouth is watering.) Sadly, the restaurant closed before I was able to get their recipe, so I developed this particular one on my own and have tinkered with it over the years to the point where I look for excuses to make it. A party, Sunday night football, a birthday, Tuesday night . . . I’m in, and so is my entire family, along with a few of my neighbors. The sauce is sweet with a hint of Cherry Coke, and once it connects with the jalapeño, it sits on the tongue with an exciting contrast of hot and sweet and savory. It goes well with a cold cocktail or even a light beer. These will disappear quickly." ~Valerie Bertinelli

Serves 16 Hands-on 35 minutes Total 45 minutes

1½ tablespoons bacon drippings
1/2 large red onion, chopped (about  1 cup)
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon garlic powder
¼ teaspoon dry mustard
2 cups cherry cola soft drink
½ cup red wine vinegar
1 cup ketchup

16 extra-large shrimp, peeled, deveined, and tails removed (about 12 ounces)
1 jalapeño chile, stem removed, seeded, and cut lengthwise into 16 thin strips
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
8 bacon slices, halved crosswise

Make the BBQ Sauce: Heat the bacon drippings in a small saucepan over medium-high. Add the onion, and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the chopped garlic, and cook, stirring often, for 1 minute. Stir in the salt, garlic powder, and dry mustard, and cook, stirring often, until the spices are toasted and fragrant and the onions are a deep maroon color, about 2 minutes. Whisk in the cherry cola and vinegar, and cook, stirring often, about 2 minutes. Stir in the ketchup. Bring the sauce to a boil, and cook until reduced to about 2 cups and the mixture coats the back of a spoon, 12 to 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the Shrimp: Heat a cast-iron skillet or grill pan over medium. Cut a long 1/4-inch-deep slit in the inner curve of each shrimp; insert 1 jalapeño strip. Sprinkle with the salt and pepper. Wrap each shrimp tightly with 1 bacon piece. Set on a plate, seam sides down.

Place the bacon-wrapped shrimp, seam sides down, in the hot skillet, and cook, turning occasionally, until the bacon is crisp and the shrimp are just cooked through, 5 to 6 minutes. Serve the shrimp with the BBQ sauce.

Make Ahead: The BBQ sauce will hold up to 2 weeks in the fridge. If you’re prepping for a party, the shrimp can be wrapped ahead of time and cooked later.

Trick Technique: If you’re someone who loves their bacon in the morning, start saving the drippings in a jar for uses like this one!

Excerpted from Valerie’s Home Cooking by Valerie Bertinelli. Copyright © 2017 Oxmoor House. Reprinted with permission from Time Inc. Books, a division of Time Inc. New York, NY. All rights reserved.

Valerie's Home Cooking cover