Classic shrimp and grits is what southern food is all about. Creamy cheesy grits poured over with a rich creole pan sauce and tender plump shrimp.
Shrimp and grits is a southern comfort classic. It is usually served in the Deep South as a breakfast meal but has become a main meal throughout the country. That being said, it should come as no surprise that there are many many ways to make this dish. Do an internet search and you will see that there is no set “way” to make shrimp and grits. It really is a matter of taste preference. As long as you have shrimp and grits you can make this dish literally any way you want.
I put my unique spin of things and came up with a flavorful soul-satisfying comfort food worthy recipe. The shrimp are dusted with creole seasoning, pan-seared in bacon drippings, and simmered in a rich creole sauce. The sauce is then served over creamy peppery grits seasoned with melted butter and sharp cheese. To finish, some thick-cut bacon crumbles and diced plum tomatoes. We are talking about a shut yo’ mouth situation! This recipe is all of that.
How to Make Creole Shrimp and Grits
I prepare a mise en place for this and many of my recipes. Basically it means that I prepare all of my ingredients before I start the recipe. Reason being that this recipe moves fast. Once the bacon is cooked I’m talking 15 minutes or less. You don’t want your garlic burning while your still chopping peppers. So the first thing to do is chop your veggies.
The next step is to cook the bacon in a skillet until crisp. Crumble the bacon and set it aside. Drain all but 1-2 tbsp of fat from the bacon. Return the reserved bacon fat to the skillet over medium to low heat. Add the creole seasoned shrimp and sear on both sides. Set the cooked shrimp in a dish.
Lower the heat and add the butter followed by the garlic. When the butter is melted add the celery, red and green peppers, and onion. Let them sauté until softened. Then add in the tomato paste and remaining seasoning. Stir to coat.
Pour in the white wine or stock. Let it simmer for 2-3 minutes then return the shrimp. Coat the shrimp in the sauce and turn off the flame.
I use quick-cooking grits. There isn’t much to making grits besides flavoring them afterward. You’re basically following the package directions according to the amount you want. The instructions here are for 4 servings of 5-minute grits.
Bring to boil 1 1/2 cups of water over medium heat. Stir in the grits. Allow them to thicken and cook thoroughly, about 5 minutes stirring consistently. Once they are done, remove the pot from the heat and add the butter, cream, and cheese.
I’m using gruyere but you can use any kind of cheese you prefer. Gruyere has a sharpness to it so either extra sharp white cheddar or parmesan could substitute.
Plate the grits and spoon the creole shrimp over the top. Garnish with crumbled bacon, diced plum tomatoes, and sliced scallion.
Southern Comfort Classics
- 1 1/2 lb shrimp peeled and deveined
- 4 strips thick cut bacon cut in half
- 1 c white cooking wine or chicken stock
- 1/2 yellow onion diced
- 1/2 red pepper diced
- 1/2 green pepper diced
- 1 plum tomato seeded and diced
- 1 stalk celery finely diced
- 6 tbsp salted butter cut into pieces
- 4 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 tbsp minced garlic
- 1 tbsp creole seasoning
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes optional
- 1-2 scallions thinly sliced
- 3/4 c quick-cooking grits
- 1 1/2 c water
- 1 c grueyer cheese
- 1/2 c heavy cream
- 4 tbsp butter
- salt and white pepper to taste
- Mix the creole seasoning with the kosher salt. Season the shrimp with the 1/2 of salted creole seasoning and set aside. In a large skillet over medium heat, cook the bacon strips until crisp. Remove the bacon to drain and crumble; set aside.
- Drain the bacon fat from the pan and reserving 2 tbsp. Add the 2 tbsp of back fat back to the skillet and sear the shrimp in an even layer on both sides until fully cooked; about 1 1/2 minutes per side. Don’t over crowd the pan; cook them in batches if necessary. Remove the cooked shrimp and set aside.
- Drop the heat to low and add the butter and garlic. Allow the butter melt and the garlic to become fragrant. Turn up the heat to medium then follow with the onion, red and green peppers, and celery. Cook until the vegetables are softened; 3-4 minutes. Add the tomato paste, remaining creole seasoning, and red pepper flakes. Stir well and add the white cooking wine.
- Bring it to a boil then return the shrimp to the pan with any juices in the resting dish. Stir well. Serve over cheesy grits topped with diced plum tomato, scallions, and crumbled bacon.
- Bring to boil 1 1/2 cups of water over medium heat. Stir in the grits. Allow them to thicken and cook thoroughly, about 5 minutes stirring consistently.
- Once prepared, add cheese, heavy cream, butter, a pinch of salt and white pepper to taste. Stir until cheese melts and the grits are smooth.