Shrimp and grits are one of those classic food pairings that have stood the test of time for a reason: they are delicious together. I first tasted this dish in the 90's when a Southern-style restaurant opened in the city where I living. It was listed under the appetizer section of the menu, but I always ended up ordering it for dinner. I loved it so much that my bachelorette dinner was help at the restaurant and shrimp and grits were definitely part of the meal.
After gathering recipes from friends and watching lots of techniques online, I've finally hit on a recipe that—while probably straying a little from its Southern origins—is all my own. It's simple and packed full of flavor and I hope you like it.
SHRIMP AND GRITS
For the grits:
The amount you cook depends on the number of people you are serving. I always make extra grits because my girls love it.
- grits (I use Alber's Quick Grits)
- milk or water (or a combo)
- a pat of butter
- 1/2 cup (a good handful) grated medium-firm cheese like white cheddar, goat gouda, p'tit basque or whatever you like
Prepare grits according to package directions. I use milk to cook the grits because I think it lends a better flavor, but water is just fine, too. You have to ensure that you stir the grits constantly as you are cooking them so they don't get lumpy. (Stir, stir, stir!) Once the grits are creamy, stir in a pat of butter and let it melt, then add the cheese. Give it another stir, then remove from heat, cover and set aside while you cook the shrimp.
For the shrimp:
It helps to prep everything before you start cooking the shrimp because the dish comes together in about 10-12 minutes.
- 1 package (about a 1/2 pound or so) of Portuguese sausage, diced (you can also use andouille, chorizo, linguica, Italian sausage crumbles, or even kielbasa—whatever sausage you like)
- 3-4 cloves of garlic, chopped
- 1 shallot, chopped,
- 1/2 small onion, chopped
- 1/2 red or green bell pepper, diced (optional, or you can use a jalapeño)
- 1/2 cup of chicken broth
- 1/4 cup (a few splashes) of white or rose wine
- 4-5 shakes of hot sauce
- 3-4 shakes of Worcestershire sauce
- 2 lbs of raw shrimp, or about 6 per person, peeled or not (I like the "easy peel" kind)
- juice of half a lemon
- salt and pepper to taste
- chopped fresh parsley to garnish
- chopped green onion to garnish
Saute the diced sausage in a pan over medium heat with the garlic, shallot, onion, and bell pepper. The sausage will generate enough oil to cook everything without sticking, but if not, you can add a little olive oil to the pan. When the onions and peppers are soft (after about 6-7 minutes), add in chicken broth, wine, hot sauce, and Worcestershire sauce (these you can add to taste). Stir well, and bring to a simmer then dump in the shrimp. Cook until shrimp just turn pink, about 3-4 minutes, stirring often. Be very careful not to overcook the shrimp. Remove from heat. Add lemon juice, salt and pepper, and stir.
To plate, scoop some grits into a shallow bowl. Place the shrimp and some sauce on top. Garnish with chopped parsley and green onion. Devour. Serves 4-6 depending if you are serving as appetizer or main course.