Shrimp and Grits

Shrimp and Grits | Magnolia Days

Shrimp and grits is a very Southern dish. What’s interesting is that I never had it until several years ago. Why? Well, it has to do with my history of grits. I thought of grits as breakfast. Even more, the grits I had growing up were sweet. My dad would mix in sugar and cream. The thought of sweet grits with shrimp wasn’t appealing to me. It took my tastes changing to open up a whole new savory world of grits.

My tastes in food changed right before I hit 40. It was quite drastic. Almost overnight I began eating foods I completely disliked before. My husband would look at me and ask “who are you and what did you do with my wife?” (jokingly of course). I would smile and shrug my shoulders. Now we laugh every time he notices me going for something different.

A few words about grits. Authentic Southern grits are stone-ground and either white or yellow. I use white for this recipe. They take a long time to cook. I’ve seen some recipes for up to 2 hours. I feel they are done in about 40 minutes. If you cannot find stone-ground, you can substitute with the type you find in the store and cook according to the package instructions. I would avoid instant or quick cooking ones as they are not quite as good as the long cooking ones.

Shrimp and grits are a bit spicy. The spice and heat comes from the andouille sausage, cayenne pepper, and Tabasco sauce. The spice is balanced with the shrimp and creaminess of the grits. This is a hearty meal and I consider it a comfort food. It is a meal I have to make a few times throughout the year. I think it stands on its own with a nice crusty bread or biscuits. You can serve it with a salad or a vegetable on the side.

How much do you enjoy shrimp? I love it. You have to check out some of my other recipes: Shrimp fra Diavolo, Shrimp Salad, and Shrimp Arnean. As spring and summer get into full swing I’m sure I’ll throw some on the grill too. When I do, I’ll be sure to share that recipe too. Stay tuned…

Shrimp and Grits
 
Prep time
 
Serves: Makes 4 servings
Ingredients
For the grits:
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup white stone-ground grits
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • Salt and Pepper
For the shrimp:
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 pound andouille sausage, casing removed and cut into bite-sized pieces
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 pounds medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 2 to 3 drops Tabasco sauce
  • Juice from ½ lemon
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 4 green onions, thinly sliced
Instructions
For the grits:
  1. In a 3-quart pot over medium heat, add the milk and water. Add the grits slowly, whisking constantly. Bring the grits to a simmer and reduce heat to medium-low or low to maintain a simmer. Stir frequently. Cook until the grits are creamy and thick, about 40 minutes. Thin with additional water or milk if too thick. Remove from the heat and stir in the butter. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
For the shrimp:
  1. In a large, deep skillet or saute pan over medium heat, add the olive oil. Add the onion and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the sausage and cook until until the sausage has browned and rendered a fair amount of fat in the pan. Sprinkle in the flour and stir to create a roux. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Slowly pour in the chicken broth, stirring constantly. Add the bay leaves and bring the liquid to a simmer. Add the shrimp and cook until shrimp is just cooked through. Add the cayenne pepper, Tabasco, and lemon juice. Stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
To serve:
  1. Spoon grits into a bowl. Top with the shrimp mixture. Garnish with green onion slices. Serve immediately.

Recipe adapted from one by Tyler Florence on the Food Network website.

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Comments

  1. says

    Admission? I have still never tried shrimp and grits! I like grits savory or sweet…and this has been on my bucket list for ages (especially when I see a mouthwatering shot of them like this). I must try soon.

  2. says

    I adore Shrimp n Grits and like you I never had them, well up until about 10 years ago. Growing up grits were mostly breakfast food (no sugar) but occasionally my mama would serve them when we would have a fish fry or quail. Funny, but this Southern girl could care less about stone-ground grits ..I can cook the heck out of some Jim Dandy 5 minute ones that are thick and creamy! When I make S & G I like to add cheese to my grits and I add red, yellow and green peppers. I also get alittle heavy handed with Old Bay seasoning when I saute my shrimp, I also don’t add any sausage.
    I’ll have to give your recipe a try soon – yum!

    • says

      Thanks Terry. And I’ll have to try adding cheese to the grits or use Old Bay next time. I always like playing with (adjusting) recipes.

  3. says

    So glad I got to enjoy your grits post today! Ever since your shrimp and grits flew into the inbox, I’ve been wanting to visit, read and learn.

    Thank you, Renee, for all the tips regarding white, yellow, stoneground and store-bought grits =)

  4. says

    I’m a native Southerner and only tried Shrimp & Grits for the first time about ten years ago.

    In authentic Southern cuisine, Grits usually are salty, not sweet — I think it’s Cream of Wheat, which is similar to grits, that generally has a sweeter taste by design.

    But like you, I associated grits with breakfast, not dinner. Once I got over that, I love this dish. I don’t care for ultra spicy foods, but the spice in Shrimp and Grits is quite mild: just enough to know it’s there without being a distraction from everything else!

    Thanks for posting the recipe…might have to try cooking it some time soon!

    • says

      Thanks Patrick! My dad would also put sugar and cream in Cream of Wheat. He made both of them sweet. The spiciness of this dish can be reduced depending on how much spice is in the sausage and to lower or omit the cayenne pepper and Tabasco sauce.

  5. says

    Maybe it’s because I rarely eat Southern food, but I often crave grits (weird I know?!). When I was in Tennessee for vacation, I almost always got grits for breakfast. You don’t get that up here in the North ;)

    • says

      It is rare to find grits up north but I think they are getting more available thanks to some southern chefs bringing up in the spotlight up there.

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  1. […] Was there ever a better marriage than shrimp and grits? Maybe. But we still love this. [Magnolia Days] […]

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