Shrimp and Grits

Photograph by Jocelyn Chiu

There is no Southern food more classic than Shrimp and Grits. My grandmother swears that she makes the best shrimp and grits in all of Georgia, but her shrimp are almost always rubbery and under seasoned. I would never tell her to her face, but my recipe is a far cry from the all white instant-grit mess that was served to me when I was younger. With wild shrimp that my grandfather caught fresh off their Moon River dock, it was always a shame to ruin such a wonderful catch.

The key to this recipe is in the bacon and the yellow grits. Both items provide a slight twist on such a classic Southern staple, but the freshness of the Georgia shrimp still shine through. Once you make this dish, your family will beg for it again and again.

In the meantime, don’t tell my grandmother how I really feel about her shrimp and grits…

Shrimp and Grits

serves 4

  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup yellow grits
  • 4 strips bacon, roughly chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • fresh chives, chopped
  • Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste
In a medium saucepan, bring water and chicken stock to a boil. Whisk in grits and bring to a boil; cover and reduce to simmer. Cook for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

In a large saute pan over medium high heat, cook bacon pieces until all fat has been rendered out. Remove bacon from the pan and allow to drain on a paper towel; set aside. Melt 1 Tablespoon of butter and add minced garlic, cooking for 1 to 2 minutes. Add shrimp and cook for 3 to 5 minutes; do not overcook. Add heavy cream and allow to thicken, sprinkle with chives and season with salt and pepper.

To serve, add remaining butter to cooked grits. Ladle grits into bottom of bowl, top with shrimp and sauce. Garnish with reserved bacon pieces and fresh chives. Enjoy immediately.

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