Grabbing the Gusto

Deirdre Reid – Freelance Writer & Home Cook

This shrimp and grits recipe is one of our favorites. The shrimp are cooked in a delicious sauce and served over creamy, cheesy grits. Swoon. I swear it’s the best shrimp and grits you’ll ever have.


Brrr, it’s been cold here in Raleigh, only reaching the low 30s during the day, with the wind chill making it feel like the teens. I know that’s no big deal to all you hardy northerners (I used to be one), but it’s the talk of the town here. Cold windy nights like these deserve something warm and comforting for dinner, like shrimp and grits.

I searched online for a shrimp and grits recipe and found one  from Crook’s Corner, a well-loved restaurant in Chapel Hill, NC. When you scan the ingredients list, you’ll understand why it had to be this one.

And how were the shrimp and grits? My oh my oh my, they were incredibly delicious. The grits were so creamy with a hint of cheese, and the shrimp were sweet, almost roasty and just a bit garlicky. Divine. Let’s put it this way: I love trying new recipes, but I now feel no need to make shrimp and grits any other way.

Update: I made a change that took this recipe beyond “divine.” Make a broth out of the shrimp shells and use that in the grits and sauce. Even better, get shrimp with heads–so much more flavor than just shells.

Shrimp and Grits recipe from Grabbing the Gusto

Shrimp and Grits | Grabbing the Gusto

Shrimp and Grits

You’ll need a medium saucepan, whisk, large skillet and a plate for dredging shrimp.

  • 3 cups shrimp broth (or half water, half chicken broth)
  • 3/4 cup half-and-half
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup regular grits
  • 3/4 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined – I used 21/30 – buy American only, don’t support Asian slave labor!
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 bacon slices, chopped
  • 4 ounces sliced shiitake mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onions
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup shrimp (or chicken) broth
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce

Bring shrimp broth (or water/chicken broth), half-and-half and salt to a boil in a medium saucepan. Gradually whisk in grits. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, 10 minutes or until thickened. Stir in Cheddar and Parmesan cheese, butter, hot sauce and black pepper. Keep warm.

Combine black pepper, salt and flour on a plate. Dredge shrimp in flour mixture.

Cook bacon in large skillet until halfway cooked. Add mushrooms and cook 5 minutes or until tender. Add green onions, cook 2 minutes. Add shrimp and garlic, sauté, flipping shrimp around, 2 minutes or until shrimp are turning color on both sides. Stir in shrimp broth, lemon juice and hot sauce, cook 2 minutes, stirring to loosen the good stuff from the bottom of the skillet.

Serve shrimp mixture over hot cheese grits. Top with crumbled bacon. Supposedly makes 4 servings but we make it for 2. Double the recipe for 4 people.

Original recipe: Crook’s Corner Shrimp and Grits, Our State

Shrimp Broth

  • Shrimp shells/heads from 1# shrimp
  • 1/2 onion (sliced)
  • 1/2 carrot (cut)
  • 1 celery stalk (chopped into large pieces)
  • 2 smooshed large garlic cloves
  • Dozen peppercorns
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Salt

Add water to about 2” below top. Bring to a boil, turn down to a simmer for about 1 hour. Strain through cheesecloth or fine sieve. Freeze any leftover broth–it’s great in shellfish pasta dishes or soups.

Adapted from Emeril Legasse’s quick shrimp stock, Cooking Channel

15 thoughts on “Shrimp and Grits

  1. teri says:

    I so miss Crook’s Shrimp and Grits. It was my go-to comfort food during grad school. Whenever anyone came to visit that’s where I’d take them. After moving back north, I never thought to make it as shrimp causes Dave to blow up like a puffer fish. But thanks to the power of (your) suggestion and the rule of the majority (neither of the boys have the puffer fish problem), I think it’s going to be in heavy rotation! (I’ll make him a nice grilled cheese. )

    Thanks for posting it, Deirdre. I love eating food memories.

    1. deirdrereid says:

      I keep forgetting that you lived here long ago. This dish will be in my heavy rotation too. I had leftover grits heated up with maple syrup for breakfast yesterday. Looking forward to having a bowl of that today too.

  2. Oh, goodness, YES. PLEASE.

    Also, I know you’re a freelance writer, so I shouldn’t have such low expectations, but I would like to thank you personally for using the correct form of “complement.” Food bloggers make that mistake far too often…

    1. deirdrereid says:

      Ha ha, that’s one of those words that I Iike getting right, in the same category as affect/effect or pique/peek/peak. English is fun until it bites me in the butt. I think I’m due to make this shrimp and grits again, but not until the weather cools down, oy.

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