Friday, February 18, 2011

Gulf Coast Shrimp and Grits

Shrimp and Sausage cooked in a spicy tomato, roux and trinity enhanced sauce, and served on a bed of Garlic Cheese Grits.
Shrimp and Sausage cooked in a spicy tomato, roux and trinity enhanced sauce, and served on a bed of Garlic Cheese Grits.

Gulf Coast Shrimp and Grits

Grits are a southern dish for sure, and though classic Shrimp and Grits is more of a Lowcountry Southern dish, than it is a Deep South Coastal dish - don't y'all know we sure took it up down here too!

Grits are a perfect southern side dish with eggs for breakfast no doubt, but we certainly bring them out of pantry for other meals down here too. Eggs in Purgatory makes a perfectly good dish for brunch or even for supper, as does Grits and Grillades and here, Shrimp and Grits.

Now, some Southerners get all stuffy about grits. I get that. But, personally I don't care whether they are stone-ground grits, quick cooking grits or whatever, I love me some grits.

Good ole Jim Dandy quick cooking grits are perfectly good enough for this gal that they grace my pantry regularly, so that's what I used here. Go right on ahead and whip up some stone ground grits if you prefer. For this dish I'm also using my regular stovetop Garlic Cheese Grits, with cheddar cheese, since cheddar is also a fridge staple. Feel free to use your favorite cheese instead.

For my Shrimp and Grits recipe, I keep it pretty simple, incorporating the elements The Trinity with a very small roux, adding in some spicy Andouille sausage, or just regular smoked sausage if you prefer, some Cajun seasoning, and a bit of tomato.

Fresh tomatoes are perfect when at their peak, but a can of regular diced tomatoes are perfectly delicious too, and, if you like, use a can of Rotel to bring up the heat level further. The hardest part of this dish is having all of the ingredients ready to go, so put the practice of mise en place in place before you start cooking.

For creamy grits, slowly stir in the grits to the boiling water/cream mixture, a little at a time - don't dump them in all at once. Then while they are cooking, continue to stir them often the entire time they are cooking, until creamy and thickened. If grits are kept holding and thicken too much, add additional cream and beat to loosen.

If you prefer, substitute stone-ground grits. Though I traditionally just use water, you may also substitute chicken stock or broth if desired.

Sometimes water will accumulate from cooking the shrimp. If so, pour off the residual water and wipe the skillet clean and continue with fresh oil.

When tomatoes are at peak and in season, substitute four Romas, seeded, and chopped. Feel free to experiment with your favorite cheeses in the grits as well. For a different experience, serve these over triangles of fried grit cakes, and by the way, if you're just not a fan of grits, this shrimp dish is equally good served over pasta or rice!

Gulf Coast Shrimp and Grits

Gulf Coast Shrimp and Grits

Yield: About 4 to 6 servings
Author: Deep South Dish
Prep time: 20 MinCook time: 30 MinTotal time: 50 Min
Shrimp and Sausage cooked in a spicy tomato, roux and trinity enhanced sauce, and served on a bed of Garlic Cheese Grits.


For the Grits:
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 6 small cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup uncooked quick grits
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
For the Shrimp:
  • 3 tablespoons cooking oil, divided
  • 1 cup chopped Andouille or other smoked sausage
  • 2 pounds small to medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1/4 cup chopped green bell pepper
  • 1/8 cup chopped celery
  • 1 can Rotel or diced tomatoes, well drained
  • 3 teaspoons Cajun seasoning (like Slap Ya Mama)
  • 1/2 cups shrimp stock or chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
  • Red pepper flakes, optional
  • Sliced green onion, for garnish


  1. For the grits, fill a saucepan with four cups of water and place on a back burner over medium for the grits. You want to keep the water warmed so that you can start the grits quickly.
  2. Peel and devein shrimp and lay the shrimp out in an even layer on a baking pan covered with paper towels. Reserve heads and shells to make stock, if desired. Cover shrimp with paper towels and pat to remove as much moisture as possible; change paper towels if needed and set aside.
  3. Sauté the garlic in a large skillet with the butter just until tender. Scrape out and set the butter and garlic aside in a small bowl - you'll need this for the grits later.
  4. In the same skillet, add the tablespoon of oil, and over medium heat, sauté the andouille sausage. Remove sausage and set aside. Add half of the shrimp and cook just until barely pink. Remove and set aside with the sausage; add remaining shrimp and repeat.
  5. Use the pan drippings and add enough oil to equal about 2 tablespoons and add 1 tablespoon of the butter. Stir in 1 tablespoon of flour and cook and stir for about 3 to 4 minutes or until lightly browned. Add the onion, bell pepper and celery; cook and stir for about 3 minutes. 
  6. Add the drained, diced tomatoes and Cajun seasoning, cook and stir about 3 minutes. Slowly add in the stock or broth, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. 
  7. While the sauce is simmering, bring water to a boil for the grits and stir in the heavy cream. Slowly stir in the grits and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring regularly.
  8. Add the shrimp and sausage back to the skillet and heat through. To thicken the sauce, stir in 1 tablespoon of butter, taste, add salt and pepper and adjust seasonings as needed. Sprinkle with red pepper flakes if desired. 
  9. To the grits, add in the reserved cooked garlic and butter and the shredded cheese, just until the cheese is incorporated and fully melted. Spoon cheese grits into serving bowl, top with several spoons of the shrimp mixture and garnish bowls with sliced green onion.


Mise en place is a good practice here, so gather all of the ingredients for the grits and set aside. Chop up the vegetables and get everything ready for the shrimp before you start.

Andouille sausage is a highly spiced smoked sausage that is blended with Cajun spices, adding a spicy kick and great flavor to these dishes. If you substitute kielbasa or other smoked sausages in recipes where it calls for Andouille, it will affect the outcome of your dish and you’ll need to make adjustments in the seasonings you use. Be sure to taste and adjust!

Classic Shrimp and Grits: Cook 3 slices of bacon until crisp; drain on paper towels and set aside. Prepare shrimp as above, except omit Rotel, substitute sliced green onion for the chopped onion, add juice from one lemon and a dash of hot sauce. Add shrimp and toss just to warm through, serve over the prepared grits.

Red Eye Gravy Shrimp and Grits: Cook 3 slices of bacon until crisp; drain on paper towels and set aside. Prepare shrimp as above, except substitute 1/2 cup of brewed coffee and 1 cup chicken broth. Add shrimp and toss just to warm through, serve over the prepared grits.

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Posted by on February 18, 2011

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