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.


Brrr, it’s been cold here in Raleigh, only reaching the very 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 of you), 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 on the Southern Living site 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.

The perfect complement to this scrumptious dish? Kale sauteed with onions and smoked paprika from Elise Bauer at Simply Recipes. Kale is one of my favorite vegetables. At Harris Teeter they sell loose kale for .99/pound, a much better price than the other supermarkets. Combining kale with smoked paprika is genius. If you don’t have smoked paprika in your cupboard, now that Penzey’s is open in Raleigh, it’s time for you to buy some. I’ve been ordering my spices online from Penzey’s for a very long time. Their spices are fresh and their prices are good.

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.

  • 2 cups water
  • 1 (14-ounce) can chicken broth  – or use 1-1/2 cups each of water and shrimp 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
  • 1/2 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
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms, or about 4 ounces
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onions
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup low-sodium, fat-free chicken broth – even better, use shrimp broth
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon hot sauce

Bring water, chicken broth (or shrimp 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 2 minutes or until shrimp are lightly brown. Stir in shrimp broth, lemon juice and hot sauce, cook 2 minutes, stirring to loosen particles from bottom of skillet.

Serve shrimp mixture over hot cheese grits. Top with crumbled bacon. Supposedly makes 4 servings. Ha!

Original recipe: Crook’s Corner Shrimp and Grits, Southern Living, April 2004

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.

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

Sauteed Kale with Smoked Paprika

  • 1 lb kale, rinsed, stems and center ribs cut away, leaves coarsely chopped
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika, sweet or hot
  • 1/4 tsp dried crushed red pepper
  • Salt

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add 1 Tbsp of salt to the water. Add the chopped kale. Cook until wilted, about 5-6 minutes. Drain and set aside.

Heat olive oil in a large pan on medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in the smoked paprika and crushed red pepper. Add the kale and sauté for several more minutes. Sprinkle on more salt and smoked paprika to taste.

Original recipe: Sauteed Kale with Smoked Paprika, Simply Recipes



8 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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