Shrimp and Grits is a super popular dish here in the south, and I’ve been dying to make it.
My recipe pairs seared jumbo shrimp and creamy cheese grits with a spicy tomato gravy (with beef bacon!) that really takes the whole thing to another level.
I made quite a large amount for only a handful of people and there were no leftovers. Also, everybody got the ‘itis.
I use stone-ground grits for this recipe; feel free to substitute quick grits if you’re short on time. I have a recipe for them with Blackened Salmon here. You can use whatever cheeses you want, really, but I think aged Asiago and extra sharp white cheddar are the perfect combination.
I used beef bacon but you can use regular pork or turkey bacon if you like. Sauteeing some peppers, garlic, and onion for the gravy would also be delicious. I didn’t include sugar in the recipe but depending on how acidic the tomatoes, you might need a bit.
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Seared shrimp, cheese grits, and tomato gravy.
- 1 1/2 lbs jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 6 slices beef bacon
- 1 cup stone ground grits
- 3 cups chicken broth
- 1 cup whole milk, divided
- 8 tbsp salted butter, divided
- 4 tbsp flour
- 1 cup extra sharp white cheddar cheese, grated
- 1/4 cup aged asiago cheese, grated + more for serving
- 1 14.5oz can diced tomatoes
- 1 tsp worchestershire sauce
- 1/2 tsp seasoned salt
- 2 tbsp cajun seasoning
- 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1/4 tsp cracked black pepper
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 2 tsp kosher salt + more as needed
- 1 cup water + more for brining
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- scallions, chopped, for serving
- Begin by prepping your grits. If they are stone-ground you may need soak them or remove the chaff*. Add your grits to a deep saucepan along with all of the chicken stock and one teaspoon of salt. Stir together.
- Bring to a simmer over medium heat, then cover and reduce heat to medium low. You’ll need to whisk the grits every 10 minutes or so to avoid lumps. Add more milk in 1/4 cup increments as they cook to achieve the desired consistency you want. Stone ground grits will take upwards of an hour and a half, so get comfortable.
- Place your clean shrimp in a bowl and add just enough water to cover. Add the baking soda and 1 teaspoon of kosher salt. Stir together and set aside for at least 15 minutes*.
- About half way through the cooking time of the grits heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add your beef bacon and cook until crisp – about 10 minutes – turning as needed. Remove the bacon and set it aside.
- Add 4 tablespoons of butter to the bacon drippings and melt. Sprinkle in the flour, then whisk together. This will form our roux for the gravy. We want to cook it until it reaches a nice deep peanut butter color, whisking all the while. It should take about 15-20 minutes.
- Once the roux has developed the right color, stir in the can of tomatoes and cup of water. Once combined together add the worchestershire, black pepper, cayenne and seasoned salt.
- Rinse off the shrimp and pat them dry with a clean kitchen towel. Season liberally with the cajun seasoning. Heat a cast iron skillet over medium high heat and add the oil.
- Once the oil is shimmering, add your shrimp in a single layer, being sure not to crowd. Shrimp cooks in minutes – as soon as the cooking side is opaque, flip it. You want the shrimp to be curled, but not too curled – tightly curled shrimp is overcooked. Squeeze your lemon juice over the shrimp and remove from the pan. Set the shrimp aside with the bacon while you finish the gravy and grits.
- Crumble the bacon up and stir the pieces into the gravy. Reduce heat to low and let it simmer.
- Add the cheese and remaining butter to the grits. Taste and add more salt if needed.
- Serve the grits topped with shrimp and the whole thing smothered with gravy. Sprinkle with scallions, more bacon and cheese if desired.
- I go into great detail about making both grits and gravy in my cookbook As Seen On IG.
- Brining your shrimp is optional, but will help them stay moist even while the outside gets a nice crisp sear.