Southern Shrimp & Grits

A spicy take on a southern classic that involves creamy grits, shrimp stock, and proteins. Not an overly difficult recipe, but it does take some time and toward the end a lot seems to happen all at once. My advise, get your mis en place done well and don’t overcook the grits or the shrimp.


  • Grits
    • 3.5 cups water
    • 0.5 tsp salt
    • 1 cup stone ground grits
    • 0.25 cups cream
    • While sacrilege, if can use instant grits then just follow the recipe on the box.
  • Shrimp Stock
    • 4 cups shrimp shells (from 2 lbs shrimp)
    • 1/2 cup olive oil
    • 1 cup onion – medium dice
    • 1/2 cup celery – medium dice
    • 1/2 cup carrots – medium slice
    • 1 tsp fennel seeds
    • 1 cup fresh tomato – medium dice
    • 3 cloves garlic – smashed
    • 4 cups water
  • Proteins
    • 4 oz. country ham – julienned
    • 4 oz. kielbasa – sliced
    • 20 large shrimp – peeled & deveined (~2 lbs)
    • 2 cloves garlic – smashed & minced
    • 2 tsp Cajun spice
    • 2 fresh tomatoes – peeled, seeded, & medium diced
    • 1 cup green onion
    • 3 oz. shrimp stock


Mis en Place: Get all your ingredients prepared. Leave cream for grits out to warm to room temperature.

  • Make Shrimp Stock
    1. Toast shrimp shells in olive oil until and pink and fragrant. If shrimp are frozen, soak in cold water to thaw enough to shell.
    2. Add onion, carrots, celery, and fennel seeds. Sauté until vegetables relax.
    3. Add tomatoes and cook 4 minutes.
    4. Add garlic and cook 1 minute.
    5. Add water and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer 30 minutes.
    6. Strain mirepoix.
  • Make Grits
    1. Bring water, salt and 1 TBL butter to a boil.
    2. Leave cream out to w
    3. Stir in grits.
    4. Reduce heat to low and cook covered, stirring occasionally until thick and creamy (~40 mins).
    5. Finish by stirring in cream and butter.
    6. Keep cover on pot until ready to serve.
  • Make Proteins
    1. Brown ham and sausage in 1 TBL butter
    2. Add shrimp, garlic and Cajun spice. Sauté without burning (~2 mins).
    3. Add tomatoes and green onions. Sauté until tomatoes render juice.
    4. Moisten with shrimp stock (~3 oz.), bring to a bubble but not a boil. Finish with butter.

Plating: Scoop a mound of grits onto the plate and pour protein mix on top. To enhance the appearance of the presentation, you can spoon some shrimp stock on top of the protein mix. Garnish the plate with a green vegetable, like garlic steamed broccoli or roasted brussels sprouts.

If you are not serving a vegetable, you should consider serving the meal in a bowl or even a large cup.