Shrimp and Grits

Shrimp and grits can pretty much be found on every menu around here. And the preparations vary wildly. Some feature shrimp in a heavy cream sauce, some are cajun type versions with lots of spicy sausage and veggies with almost no liquid, and some are basically just shrimp in a dark and flavorful gravy.

make grits
Stir grits into boiling water. Add milk and bring back up to a simmer. Reduce heat to VERY low (or off) and cover, cooking according to package directions until just al dente. If too thick, add a bit more milk. Stir in cheese and add salt and pepper to taste.

The grits are almost always good quality stone ground grits cooked until just al dente. If you don’t think you like grits, you just haven’t had the right kind. Do not base your opinion on little packets of instant grits. Yuck. Some people will tell you that grits are just like polenta but I disagree with that to some extent. They are very similar, but good stone-ground grits will have much larger pieces and will still have a bit of bite to them when prepared properly.

Saute bacon in a little oil and remove to bowl. Repeat with andouille. Saute onions and peppers until translucent then add tomato, garlic and spices. Cook until tomato begins to soften. Remove to bowl.
Saute bacon in a little oil and remove to bowl. Repeat with andouille. Saute onions and peppers until translucent then add tomato, garlic and spices. Cook until tomato begins to soften. Remove to bowl.

For this recipe, I use good North Carolina grits and add a little cream and parmesan to them. I wouldn’t want traditional cheese grits here but the parmesan just adds a bit of salty, nutty goodness. I also take my favorite bits from all the variations of shrimp stews and blend them altogether for a slightly spicy, rich and lightly creamy bowl of goodness.

Melt butter into pan. Stir in flour and cook until very brown. Stir in stock until smooth. Season with Worcestershire and hot sauces.
Melt butter into pan. Stir in flour and cook until very brown. Slowly stir in stock until smooth. Season with Worcestershire and hot sauces. It’ll be velvety and delicious when you are done.

One thing to note is that the andouille is already pretty spicy. When I made this, the 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper sort of pushed this a little too far for my son’s tastes. Even Chef J commented that it was a little spicy (but he likes it spicy so he wasn’t complaining exactly). Leave it out or just use a pinch if you are serving to a mixed group.

Stir sausage and veg mixture back into pan. Reduce heat to VERY low and stir in shrimp and cream. Cook until shrimp is pink (about three minutes).
Stir sausage and veg mixture back into pan. Reduce heat to VERY low and stir in shrimp and cream. Cook until shrimp is pink (about three minutes).

Creamy Parmesan Grits

  • 3/4 C good stone ground grits
  • 2 C water or chicken broth or some combination of the two
  • 1/2 t coarse kosher salt
  • 1 C whole milk, half & half or heavy cream (plus more if needed)
  • 1/4 C finely grated parmesan
  • Salt and pepper

Bring water and salt to a boil in a heavy lidded sauce pot. Stir grits into pot (stir constantly so they don’t clump). Stir in milk and bring back to a bubble. Reduce heat to low, cover tightly and continue cooking for 5-6 minutes (or however long your package indicates) stirring occasionally to make sure they don’t clump up. A few minutes before it’s done, stir in cheese and check consistency. If too thick, add a little more milk or if too thin, remove lid and increase heat slightly to evaporate excess liquid. Salt and pepper to taste.

Shrimp “Stew”

  • 1 T vegetable oil
  • 1 strip bacon, diced
  • 6-8 oz andouille sausage, diced
  • 1 1/2 lbs shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced small
  • 1 small sweet onion, diced small
  • 1 roma tomato, diced small
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 t cayenne (optional)
  • 1 t Old Bay seasoning
  • 1/2 t cumin
  • 1/2 t chili powder
  • 1/2 t paprika
  • 2 T butter
  • 2 T all purpose flour
  • 1 t Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 t hot sauce
  • 1 C beef or chicken stock
  • 1/3 C half and half or heavy cream
  • Fresh chopped parsley or scallions, for garnish

In a large heavy skillet, saute bacon in oil over medium high heat until crisp. Remove with slotted spoon to a large bowl, reserving about 2 T of drippings in pan. Add andouille to pan and saute until beginning to brown. Remove to bowl with bacon. Add bell pepper and onion to pan and saute until softened, about 5 minutes. Add tomato, garlic and spices and continue to saute for about one minute or until tomato is beginning to soften. Remove to bowl with andouille. About ten minutes before you are ready to serve, Melt butter into same pan and add flour. Cook flour for about two to five minutes depending on how dark you like your roux. Gradually stir in stock until smooth. Add Worcestershire and hot sauce. Stir andouille mixture back in. Reduce heat to medium low and add shrimp and cream. Allow to simmer, stirring until shrimp is cooked through, about 2-3 minutes depending on the size of your shrimp.Taste and add salt and pepper as needed.

To serve, spoon grits into a shallow bowl. Ladle shrimp stew over top and garnish with fresh chopped parsley or scallions.

Serves 4-6

ready to serve

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