Creamy Shrimp and grits are a deliciously iconic, Southern masterpiece, a wonderful cheesy comfort food, topped with a creamy sauce and succulent Gulf shrimp; cooked to perfection, combining a little old Southern tradition with a ton of creative flavor.
You’ll find this menu item served in Louisiana, South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia and parts of Virginia. However, white grits, in general, may be served as a traditional breakfast item in any of the Southern States in the USA.
I’ll be honest, the first time I had white grits was on vacation with my parents in Tennessee; my first reaction to that beloved Southern breakfast item? UGH, I hated them and almost spit them out on the table. Yes, I know TMI, right? In my defense, I thought the grits were a cream of wheat when the waitress placed them on the table; they were not of course.
Years later, when visiting another Southern State, I happened to notice that a man at the table next to ours had a very tasty looking dish of something white and creamy looking topped with these giant, succulent looking Gulf shrimp. When our waitress came to take our order, I had to ask her, “What is the dish called that gentleman beside us is eating?” Imagine the surprised look on my face when she said Shrimp and grits. Some 20 years after that family vacation, I would learn that I adore grits, Shrimp, and Grits that is!
You will find many variations of this delicious Southern recipe depending on where you are at and who is making them; In 2006, Nathalie Dupree, the famous Southern food writer and cooking show host, published Nathalie Dupree’s Shrimp and Grits, an entire book solely devoted to Shrimp and grits and the variations, 80 different variations in all. Whew, that’s a ton of ways to enjoy shrimp and grits. Below is my own personal recipe and creation for you to enjoy…
Creamy Shrimp and Grits
- 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter
- 1/3 of a cup of finely diced celery
- 1/3 of a cup of finely diced onions
- 1/3 of a cup of finely diced red bell peppers
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 3 Plum tomatoes diced
- 2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour
- 1 and 1/2 cups of chicken stock
- 1/4 of a cup of heavy cream
- 1/2 teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tablespoon of hot sauce, optional
- 1/2 of a teaspoon of dried thyme
- 1/2 of a teaspoon or to own taste of Cajun or Creole seasoning
- a pinch of cayenne pepper
- kosher salt, to own taste
- freshly ground pepper, to own taste
- 1 and 1/2 pounds of large Gulf shrimp shells removed and cleaned
To cook the Quick Cook Grits
- 4 and 1/2 cups of clear chicken stock +More if needed to thin
- 1 cup of quick cook grits
- Kosher salt to own taste
- freshly ground pepper to own taste
- 3 tablespoons of unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 2/3 of a cup shredded white sharp cheddar cheese
- 2 teaspoons of chopped fresh parsley for garnish
- Hot sauce to serve
Directions for creamy shrimp
- Melt 2 tablespoons unsalted butter in a large cast-iron skillet over medium heat, once the butter has melted add finely diced celery, onions, red bell peppers, plum tomatoes and minced garlic. Reduce heat slightly and cook till vegetables are softened.
- Add 2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour, stirring constantly till flour and vegetable mixture becomes a honey color, about 5 minutes. Be careful not to burn the flour mixture.
- Add clear chicken stock, constantly stirring the roux till smooth.
- Reduce heat to lowest setting, temper in heavy cream a little at a time constantly stirring. Add Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, Cajun or Creole seasoning, thyme, a pinch of cayenne pepper, kosher salt, and freshly ground pepper. Stir to combine spices.
- Add 1 and 1/2 pounds of gulf shrimp, cook around 5- 6 minutes or until the shrimp is completely done. Remove from the heat source.
- Place a 2-quart saucepan over medium heat, combine the grits, the 4 1/2 cups clear chicken stock, salt and 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter, bring grits and chicken stock to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, until tender, 4-6 minutes. If the grits become too thick, add more clear chicken stock a little at a time.
- Remove the 2-quart saucepan from the heat and stir in the remaining unsalted butter, the white cheddar cheese, and fresh ground pepper.
- Divide the grits into 6 serving bowls and evenly distribute the shrimp and sauce over the cooked grits, garnish with freshly chopped parsley, and top with hot sauce if desired.
- Serve immediately.
Disclaimer: While a recipe is not written in stone, it is recommended you stick to the original recipe as closely as your diet allows; as changes made on your own to my recipes may result in changing the integrity of the flavor of the cooked menu item.
© Heidy L. McCallum and The McCallum’s Shamrock Patch, 2015-2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material or photos without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Heidy L. McCallum and The McCallum’s Shamrock Patch with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. You may not copy and paste recipes to share on Social Platforms.