Shrimp & Grits

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Shrimp & Grits Recipe by Mr. Make It Happen

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Introduction

Today we are tackling one of the most versatile and delicious recipes. Shrimp and Grits! This can be served on any occasion and breaks the barrier for what is considered breakfast, lunch, or dinner. We are elevating this one with lump crab, bacon, and andouille sausage, but as with most recipes of mine, feel free to make it your own.

Shrimp & Grits History

Shrimp and grits is a popular dish in the Southern United States, particularly in the coastal regions of the Southeast, such as South Carolina, Georgia, and Louisiana. Its exact origin is somewhat debated, but it is generally believed to have originated in the Lowcountry region of South Carolina and Georgia. Over time, as culinary traditions evolved in the American South, shrimp and grits became a beloved dish that showcased the region’s ingredients and flavors. It gained popularity in the late 20th century and is now considered a classic Southern comfort food.

While its origins may be humble, shrimp and grits has become a versatile and iconic dish, with numerous variations and interpretations found in restaurants and home kitchens across the South and beyond. It is often served for breakfast, brunch, or dinner, and can feature a wide range of seasonings, sauces, and additional ingredients.

Firs things first, let’s talk about grits. Southern grits are a staple dish in Southern cuisine, particularly in the Southeastern United States. They are made from ground corn kernels that have been hulled and dried, resulting in a coarse-textured grain. Grits have a long history in the region, with Native American tribes like the Cherokee and Creek using similar preparations from corn.

Firs things first, let’s talk about grits. Southern grits are a staple dish in Southern cuisine, particularly in the Southeastern United States. They are made from ground corn kernels that have been hulled and dried, resulting in a coarse-textured grain. Grits have a long history in the region, with Native American tribes like the Cherokee and Creek using similar preparations from corn.

Here are some key aspects of Southern grits:

  • Preparation: Grits are typically prepared by boiling them in water or milk until they reach a creamy consistency. They can be seasoned with salt and butter during cooking for added flavor. The cooking time can vary depending on the coarseness of the grits and desired texture, ranging from a few minutes for quick-cooking grits to up to an hour or more for stone-ground varieties.
  • Texture: The texture of grits can vary depending on the coarseness of the grind and the cooking method. Traditional stone-ground grits tend to have a coarser texture and more pronounced corn flavor, while quick-cooking grits have a finer texture and cook faster.
  • Versatility: Grits are a versatile dish that can be served as a savory or sweet side dish. Savory grits are often served alongside shrimp, fish, barbecue, or fried chicken, while sweet grits may be flavored with sugar, honey, or fruit and served as a breakfast or dessert dish.
  • Cultural Significance: Grits hold cultural significance in the Southern United States and are often associated with comfort food and Southern hospitality. They have been a staple of Southern cuisine for centuries and are celebrated in regional festivals and culinary events.
  • Variations: While plain grits are delicious on their own, there are many variations and additions that can be incorporated into the dish. Cheese grits, made with shredded cheese melted into the cooked grits, are a popular variation. Grits can also be topped with gravy, bacon, sausage, or vegetables for added flavor and texture.

Overall, Southern grits are a beloved dish in the Southern United States, cherished for their simplicity, versatility, and rich culinary history. They continue to be enjoyed by people of all backgrounds and are an essential part of Southern comfort food.

Personally, I use 1 part grits, 2 parts chicken broth/stock, and 2 parts whole milk when cooking mine. This results in flavorful and creamy grits, no matter how you decide to season them or what you decide to add in.

Today we are going with a 3 cheese blend for our grits. I like to use a combination of smoked gouda, sharp cheddar, and parmesan. This is perfect for shrimp and grits or if you like your grits cheesy. Feel free to use whatever your favorite cheese is. Be sure to season the grits AFTER adding the cheese to ensure they are not overpowered by the chicken broth and saltier cheese choices.

Cook your grits per package instructions with the milk and broth I mentioned before. During the last 5 minutes of cooking, give the grits a good mix and slowly add in your cheese. If you need to thin them with a bit more milk, that’s totally fine. Taste for seasoning at the end and adjust as needed. You can keep these on your lowest heat setting or just reheat when ready to serve (you will need to add a splash of liquid.. everyone has heard the phrase “thicker than cold grits”… so yeah lol)

While the grits are cooking, pop your thick cut bacon into a 400 degree oven until it’s nice and crispy. We will dice this and use it as garnish.

This ingredient is optional. If you’d rather serve your bacon separately as a side, that’s fine. If you don’t eat pork you can leave the bacon out altogether and use chicken or beef andouille sausage. Below are the brands that I chose for this recipe but you can use whatever is readily available locally to you.

“Gravy Prep”

Now it’s time to prep the “gravy”. As with most cajun/creole inspired dishes, this starts with the “Cajun Trinity” which is a blend of onions, bell pepper, and celery. Once this is prepped set it aside for a moment and season your shrimp. We will begin our gravy by first cooking the shrimp. This will allow us to capture the essence of some seafood flavor from the shrimp. (It also reduces our dirty dishes when we are done, lol)

Today we are using my All Purpose and Lemon Bae seasoning along with your preferred Cajun Seasoning. Feel free to use whatever your favorite seafood or Cajun Seasoning is.


Cook your shrimp in butter and flip after about 90 seconds (once the color is achieved). Shrimp are safe to eat at 145 degrees internal temp. I like to save a few to top the plate and the rest are going into our gravy. Once the shrimp are done, remove them from the skillet, leaving behind the butter and any shrimp flavor. 

Once the shrimp have been removed, add in the andouille sausage. This is when the flavor party really kicks off. Andouille sausage adds some smokiness and heat to the flavor profile. Once the sausage cooks down and browns nicely, add in the trinity.

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Once your andouille sausage and trinity cook down and marry in flavor matrimony, we add in a bit of tomato paste, garlic, and season to taste. Now it’s time to make your roux by adding in all purpose flour. This will be the thickening agent for your gravy or sauce. Cook the flour off for 1-2 minutes. Now, it’s time to deglaze the skillet with chicken broth. Bring this to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. It should thicken up to a gravy consistency.

The Assembly

This stuff right here is magic! It will elevate your shrimp and grits, morning omelete, smothered chicken, etc. 

Now that we have all of our components done, it’s time to assemble. Start with the grits and then add your shrimp. Ladle the gravy on top and then garnish with the crab meat, bacon, and chives. Now you have created a masterpiece.. enjoy!

Mr. Make It Happen | Shrimp & Grits Recipe – Money Shot

Shrimp & Grits: Print & Download Recipe

Shrimp & Grits

By: Mr. Make It Happen
Servings: 5 people
Prep: 25 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
Today we are tackling one of the most versatile and delicious recipes. Shrimp and Grits! This can be served on any occasion and breaks the barrier for what is considered breakfast, lunch, or dinner. We are elevating this one with lump crab, bacon, and andouille sausage, but as with most recipes of mine, feel free to make it your own.

Equipment

  • 1 Measuring Cup
  • 1 Saute Pan
  • 1 Baking Sheet
  • 1 Mr. Make It Happen Chef Knife or your preferred kitchen knife
  • 1 Cutting Board

Ingredients 

Seafood

  • 1.5 lb Jumbo shrimp
  • Lump Crab Meat, Optional

Protein

  • 8 oz Andouille Sausage
  • 4 slices thick cut bacon

Dry Ingredients

  • 2-3 tbsp all purpose flour
  • 1 cup Old Fashioned Grits
  • 1 pinch of sugar, optional for grits

Cheese

  • 1/2 cup Cheddar Cheese
  • 1.5-2 cups Smoked Gouda Cheese
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese

Wet Ingredients

  • 2-3 tbsp high quality butter
  • 2 cups Whole Milk
  • 2 cups Chicken Stock, for grits
  • 2 cups Chicken or Seafood Stock, for gravy/sauce
  • Fresh Lemon Juice

Seasonings

  • Salt, pepper, garlic, Tony’s Creole Seasoning, Parsley
  • 1 tbsp better than bouillon Lobster Base, or chicken/veggie/garlic
  • 1 tbsp garlic paste

Produce

  • 1 small diced onion
  • 2-4 stalks celery diced
  • 1/2 bell pepper diced
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Instructions 

Cooking Grits

  • Personally, I use 1 part grits, 2 parts chicken broth/stock, and 2 parts whole milk when cooking mine.
  • Today we are going with a 3 cheese blend for our grits. I like to use a combination of smoked gouda, sharp cheddar, and parmesan
  • Cook your grits per package instructions with the milk and broth I mentioned before. During the last 5 minutes of cooking, give the grits a good mix and slowly add in your cheese. If you need to thin them with a bit more milk, that’s totally fine. Taste for seasoning at the end and adjust as needed.
  • OPTIONAL* While grits are cooking, preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Place your thick cut bacon on a baking sheet with some aluminum foil and bake until nice and crispy.

"Gravy" Prep

  • Now it’s time to prep the “gravy”. As with most cajun/creole inspired dishes, this starts with the “Cajun Trinity” which is a blend of onions, bell pepper, and celery.
  • Once this is prepped set it aside for a moment and season your shrimp.
  • Today we are using my All Purpose and Lemon Bae seasoning along with your preferred Cajun Seasoning. Feel free to use whatever your favorite seafood or Cajun Seasoning is.
  • Cook your shrimp in butter and flip after about 90 seconds (once the color is achieved). Shrimp are safe to eat at 145 degrees internal temp. (I like to save a few to top the plate and the rest are going into our gravy.)
  • Once the shrimp have been removed, add in the andouille sausage.
  • Once the sausage cooks down and browns nicely, add in the trinity.
  • Once your andouille sausage and trinity cook down and marry in flavor matrimony, we add in a bit of tomato paste, garlic, and season to taste.

Making Roux

  • Now it’s time to make your roux by adding in all purpose flour. This will be the thickening agent for your gravy or sauce. Cook the flour off for 1-2 minutes
  • Now, it’s time to deglaze the skillet with chicken broth. Bring this to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. It should thicken up to a gravy consistency.
  • Now that we have all of our components done, it’s time to assemble. Start with the grits and then add your shrimp. Ladle the gravy on top and then garnish with the crab meat, bacon, and chives.

Video

Notes

OPTIONAL: While cooking grits, preheat oven to 400 degrees to cook your bacon for a delicious and crispy garnish. 

Additional Info

Course: Breakfast, Comfort Food, Seafood Recipes
Cuisine: American

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About Matt Price

I’m Matt Price – A self taught “Home Chef”, or “Internet Chef”, lol, from Virginia. I’m super passionate about cooking and sharing recipes and techniques to elevate home cooking. Too many of us have drifted away from the kitchen – and my goal is to change that! Let’s Make It Happen.

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