Shrimp and Grits

I don’t make a lot of southern food, and have not had much experience with grits. However, I have heard a lot about shrimp and grits. The people who talk about it talk as if they are describing the best meal they ever had. Finally, after an episode of Throwdown with Bobby Flay, my curiosity got the better of me and I decided to give it a try. I figured that you can’t go wrong with cheesy grits, topped with shrimp in a creamy sauce. I did also take some liberties here and there and added some spicy Cajun seasoning to the mix and with one bite realized what all of the hub-bub was about.

Living in the great northwest, I found it a little difficult to find stone ground grits. In my grocery store on the very top shelf in the back they had three boxes of instant grits and 2 boxes of quick grits. I had heard bad things about instant so I went with the quick variety. I know many people will scoff at that idea, in fact when I got to the check stand the checker said to me “I LOVE grits, but I have NEVER bought quick grits.” I explained that it was the only option other than instant and she offered a tip to add less liquid then the box and cook them a little longer then suggested. I used her advice and they turned out creamy and delicious.

I also use shrimp broth in this dish and chose to make my own. I have included that recipe for you but if you don’t want to make your own you can substitute canned clam juice, although it can be a bit salty and not as flavorful.

The Recipe

  • Serves 4
  • Prep time:
  • Cook time:

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3/4 cup quick cook grits
  • 4 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, cut into cubes (about 1 cup)
  • 1 pound 51-60 count prawns, peeled and deveined (If making your own shrimp broth reserve the shells)
  • 1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic
  • 4 slices bacon, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1/2 onion minced
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 2 cups shrimp broth (recipe below)
  • 1/2 cup half and half
  • 2 cups of water
  • salt
  • few peppercorns

Instructions:

  1. To make the shrimp broth, place shrimp shells in saucepan. Pour water over, add salt and peppercorns. Bring to a bowl, reduce heat and let simmer about 20 minutes.
  2. Using a colander, strain the broth over a bowl. Discard shells.
  3. To make the grits, bring chicken broth and water to a boil over medium heat in a medium sauce pan. Add butter, let melt.
  4. Slowly whisk in the grits, stir for about 1-2 minutes to ensure that they don't stick to the bottom of the pan. Reduce the temperature to low, cover and cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in cheddar. Cover and cook another 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the cheese melts and the grits are creamy. Leave covered on low heat until ready to serve.
  5. Next make the shrimp by combining the shrimp, Cajun seasoning, cayenne and granulated garlic in a bowl and toss to coat. Refrigerate until ready to use.
  6. In a skillet over medium heat, cook bacon until browned. Place on a paper towel lined plate, set aside. Reserve 2 tablespoons of pan drippings.
  7. To the same skillet add onions and garlic. Cook 3-5 minutes or until softened. Add shrimp. Cook until pink.
  8. Once shrimp are pink, add flour and cook one minute. (Note: It is important to cook the flour for a minute so that you don't have a pasty flavor to your sauce). Add the shrimp broth and cook until it thickens, about 3 minutes. Add half and half and cook until the sauce reduces by 1/3, about 5 minutes, it should be creamy and will coat the back of a spoon. At the last minute add in reserved bacon bits. Pour shrimp and sauce over grits and serve immediately.

I had always shied away from grits, but I am glad that I finally gave them a try. Now that I have a whole box of them I think I'll try some more experimenting. I'll let you know how that goes. Enjoy!

  • http://burpandslurp.wordpress.com Sophia

    God, that looks heavenly. I’d love a huge bowl of that right now. I can use polenta too, right?

  • http://ourlifeinfood.wordpress.com Carrie

    I’ve never had shrimp and grits either, but I love that kind of southern food. This looks wonderful!

  • http://www.thewickednoodle.com the wicked noodle

    I’m not sure I like grits, but I could try them again for this recipe! I’m quite sure that if I was going to enjoy them, it would be in this yummy dish.

  • http://www.lifesambrosia.com Deseree

    Thanks Sophia, you know I have heard that you can use polenta although I have never tried it, but I imagine it would be just as good.
    Thanks Carrie!
    Thanks the wicked noodle! I had only tried them once or twice before this and I am glad I gave them another shot because cooked this way they were delicious. :)

  • leslie

    L am a Georgia,Girl And I know this recipe will be good.and of course it is different. love love love it.Thanks

  • http://www.lifesambrosia.com Deseree

    You’re welcome leslie! :)

  • http://closetcooking.blogspot.com/ Kevin

    That looks good. I have been wanting to try shrimp and grits.

  • http://www.lifesambrosia.com Deseree

    Thanks Kevin!

  • http://hobokenmetromom.com hobokenmetromom

    This looks absolutely delicious. I have some shrimp in the freezer and grits in the pantry… perfect! Love your site.

  • http://www.lifesambrosia.com Deseree

    Thank hobokenmetromom! I hope you enjoy it :)

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  • Carol Blaess

    My husband would never eat Grits. Being that there’s ( Shrimp and Cheese ) involved, he gave in.
    AND LOVED IT. Thank you !

  • http://www.lifesambrosia.com Deseree

    You’re welcome Carol! I am so glad that you and your husband enjoyed it! It is amazing what shrimp and cheese can do ;-)

  • April

    I just made this for breakfast… YUMMY!!!!!

  • Ruth

    This is a tasty easy version of shrimp ‘n grits, thanks!

    My dad’s from the South. Quick and instant grits (and no other kind) have been a thorn in his side in all the 50 + years he has lived in the NW.

    I order him old-fashioned stone ground grits from Falls Mill in Tennessee, now THOSE make him happy. Unfortunately, the shipping is almost more than the cost of the grits!But they are gooood!

    Also, if you have friends or family who go down south every now and then, you can beg them to get you some “slow” grits at any grocery store. Albers and Quaker make them. They taste better than quick grits which my dad says taste like the box they came in.

  • SDavis

    Hi there :)
    I found this recipe and then merged this with another I found
    I used a shallot and garlic clove. Sauteed in olive oil..then added
    some serrano ham…then the flour..then chicken broth Then I added
    the cream. I sauteed the shrimp separately and mushrooms as well.
    I heated up the cream sauce then added the shrimp.I added the mushrooms
    only for the “grownups” before serving, I also sprinkled with scallions and red pepper flakes
    Thank you for a wonderful recipe. We realllllly enjoyed it :)

  • http://mynameiscat.blogspot.com Cat

    Just made this for dinner, and it was a huge hit.

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  • Anita B

    I had shrimp and grits in a restaurant in Washington DC, called Busboys and Poets. They serve a shrimp and grits dish that is not like any of the recipes on this website. I didn’t taste bacon fat and there was no cheese in the grits.Them shrimp were just the right size. The grits are served in a semi-solid wedge form and looked to be slightly grilled, and there was fresh basil in them. The sauce has fresh corn kernels, asparagus, and tomatoes in a peanut butter colored gravy. It is unforgettable.

  • Bruce

    I’m a southern gentleman, and I can testify that grits all by themselves, are not very tasty. But cooked with broth, with a bunch of cheese, and supporting yummy cajun flavored shrimp, these grits will make you change your mind about hominy.

  • Mark

    These are absolutely fabulous! The depth and layers of flavor make both the shrimp and grits unforgettable.

  • Dot

    First tried this dish at a casino buffet in Mississippi — wonderful! Had never heard of the combination. The next evening we were in Tallahassee and had room service for dinner — guess what we ordered? Again — wonderful!

  • Kayley

    I made this and it is spectacular. I used vegan cheese instead of regular cheddar (dairy allergy) and it was amazing.

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A little bit about me...

My name is Des. I’m a Mom to Kellan and Preston. Wife to Ryan. Dog mom to Pumpkin and lover of all things food. Whether it is cooking it, eating it, shopping for it or watching TV about it, food is one of my favorite things. Read more »

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