Thursday, April 24, 2014

Shrimp and Grits My Way

This is a piece of heaven on a plate. It may seem a bit complicated at first. Have no fear. If you do it in order, it is not difficult at all. Cooking should be an adventure. This dish will make you a star at the dinner table.

Original recipe makes 8 servings


  • 1 cup quick grits
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 cups good chicken broth
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 cups half-and-half
  • ¼ cup semi-dry white wine
  • 1½ pound uncooked shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • salt to taste
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme
  • 2 lemons, juiced
  • ½ pound andouille sausage, cut into ¼-inch slices (A smoked sausage works if you can't find andouille.)
  • 4 slices thick sliced apple bacon
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 cup onion chopped
  • ½ cup celery thin sliced (I use a mandolin set for a very thin slice.)
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • ¼ cup butter
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • ¾ tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese


Prepare the Shrimp

  1. Peel and devein the shrimp.
  2. Sprinkle shrimp with salt, smoked paprika, and cayenne pepper; drizzle with lemon juice. Set aside in a bowl for about an hour.

Cook the Bacon

  1. Cook bacon in a large skillet over medium-high heat, turning occasionally, until evenly browned, about 10 minutes.
  2. Retain bacon drippings in skillet.
  3. Transfer bacon slices to paper towels, let cool, and crumble.

Prepare the Roux

  1. Melt half of the butter with a teaspoon of bacon fat in a small saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Add the flour and stir with a whisk.
  3. Keep stirring until the roux turns the color of peanut butter. Watch carefully, mixture burns easily.
  4. Remove from the heat.

Time to Make the Cheese Grits

  1. Bring 1 cup water, 2 cups chicken broth and salt to a boil in a heavy saucepan with a lid.
  2. Stir in the grits, Make sure you take your time to avoid hard lumps in your creamy grits.
  3. Turn down the heat and simmer while stirring. r
  4. When they have thickened stir in 1 cup of the half and half, and simmer a couple of minutes.
  5. Add the cheese and half of the crumbled bacon, stir well.
  6. Turn off the heat, and set aside to allow the moisture to distribute evenly. (5 minutes should be good.)
  7. Prepare a work space on a flat surface by laying out plastic wrap.
  8. Turn out the grits on the wrap and place another layer of plastic wrap over the grits.
  9. Flatten the grits into a rectangular shape and press till you have an even height of ½ an inch.
  10. Chill the grits to make the next step easier.
  11. Preheat the oven to 425° Fahrenheit.
  12. Cut out rounds with a large biscuit cutter. (Making any shape you want: triangles, squares, works too.)
  13. Lightly dust with a little flour cover and let them rest.
  14. Cover a sheet pan with parchment paper. and arrange the rounds on it.
  15. Brush them with a bit of melted butter to help with browning.
  16. Bake 10 minutes and rotate the tray to keep browning even.
  17. Bake another 5 minutes and then flip them.
  18. Bake till golden brown. Crispy outside, creamy inside. Don't let them get too brown.
  19. Remove from the oven and keep them warm and happy.

The Main Event

  1. Do your prep work now! Dice the vegetables and the andouille. Things will be happening fast so be prepared.
  2. Combine 1 cup chicken broth with the shrimp marinade, wine, Worcestershire sauce, We will use this to deglaze the pan and begin building our sauce.
  3. Place andouille sausage slices in a large skillet over medium heat; fry sausage in the pan with the bacon fat until browned, 5 to 8 minutes. Remove the andouille for later.
  4. Cook green, red, and yellow bell peppers, celery, onion, and garlic in the bacon drippings until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes.
  5. Stir shrimp into the cooked aromatic vegetables
  6. Cook until the shrimp just begin to turn opaque and bright pink, about 5 minutes.
  7. Add the andouille sausage and mix to combine.
  8. Deglaze the pan with the prepared liquids. Make sure you get all those tasty bits of goodness on the surface of the pan are combined.
  9. Add the roux and stir as it thickens. Add the remaining half and half and stir well. Correct for thickness with a bit of water.
  10. Add the thyme and remaining bacon.
  11. Remove from the heat and pour it into a serving bowl.

Final Assembly

  1. Place the grits on a serving plate. How many rounds is up to the diner's appetite. If I'm serving several courses I go with one round per person. (I have scallop shells I use for serving plates if I want to be dramatic.)
  2. Serve shrimp mixture over cheese grits rounds.
  3. Serve immediately.


I like to serve this with a bitter green salad with tomatoes and red onions. I dress the salad with olive pepper oil vinaigrette using Dijon mustard, and a mix of cider and balsamic vinegar (2 to 1 ratio), salt and fresh black pepper.