This classic dish is favored from the Carolina low country to the tip of Florida’s Key West not to mention all along the gulf coast and into the western states. Yep, it’s that good and there are so many variations. Two ingredients that you gotta have are, as the name implies, shrimp and grits. How you cook it and what other ingredients you add depends on many regional customs. This dish is customarily served throughout the year here and especially during Mardi Gras. Breakfast, brunch, supper and after-the-ball parties, this dish plays an important part of our many foods we like before, during and after celebrating.
Today I offer two of my favorite ways to serve this fabulous dish, each with different preparations and flavors. Enjoy!
1 1/2 cups stone ground yellow grits
5 1/2 cups salted boiling water
2 cups scalded milk
3 tablespoons butter
1 pound of smoked bacon, chopped
5 pounds of peeled shrimp
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/4 cups sherry (not cooking sherry, use the real thing)
2 1/2 cups heavy cream
Salt and white pepper to taste
Chopped green onions, if desired
In a small stockpot or very large saucepan, stir grits slowly into the boiling salted water. Stir in the milk. Return to a good boil, reduce heat to low and stir until it reaches a low simmer. Cover and cook for 10 to 15 minutes stirring occasionally to break up any lumps. Remove from heat and stir in the butter. Cover and keep warm. Before serving, check consistency and add more milk if needed.
In a large Dutch oven, fry bacon until crisp, remove to paper towels to drain. Remove just about all of the dripping from the pot (reserve it for anther use). Crumble bacon and set aside. Over medium heat, add the garlic to the pot and cook for a couple of minutes, stir in the shrimp and turn up the heat to medium high. Cook for 5 minutes tossing shrimp around until all are nice and pink. Add the wine stirring to deglaze the pot and cook for 3 minutes. Add the cream and cook until thickened, stirring constantly. Add salt and pepper to taste.
To serve, place grits on each plate and ladle the shrimp mixture on top. Garnish with the crumbled bacon and add green onions if desired.
Cheese & Corn Grits with Spicy Shrimp
My version of Shrimp and Grits, serve 6
For the grits:
2 cups water
2 cups milk
2 tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons salt
1 cup uncooked quick-cooking grits
1 cup cream of chicken soup
3/4 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
3/4 cup grated jalapeño jack cheese
1 cup whole kernel corn
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. In a large saucepan, bring water and milk to a boil – add butter mixing well. Add salt and grits – boil for two minutes whisking frequently to remove lumps and turn off heat. Cover for 10 to 15 minutes and then mix in the chicken soup, cheeses and corn. Spread evenly into a greased casserole dish and sprinkle with paprika. Bake uncovered for 30 to 40 minutes. Remove and let set while the shrimp are cooking.
For the shrimp:
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon hot sauce (such as Tabasco)
1 1/2 pounds peeled and deveined large shrimp
4 bacon slices, chopped
1 cup chopped finely onion
1/4 cup chopped green bell finely pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 large tomato, peeled and finely chopped
Cayenne if desired
1 cup chicken broth
1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 cup chopped green onions, divided
In a medium bowl, mix the shrimp with the lemon juice and hot sauce coating the shrimp well.
Cook bacon in a large skillet over medium heat until crisp. Add onion, bell pepper, and garlic to the drippings in pan; cook 5 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Stir in shrimp mixture and the tomatoes. Whisk the chicken broth with the cornstarch and stir into the skillet. Add 1/4 cup green onions and cook 5 minutes or until shrimp are done, stirring frequently. Add more hot sauce or cayenne if desired.
To plate, cut grits into squares or spoon onto a dish, ladle shrimp mixture over and garnish with remaining green onions.
See also a previous post – Tipsy Shrimp & Grits