Recipe for Life: Shrimp and Grits

Recipe for Life


Shrimp and grits is a staple dish through out the Southern United States. Traditionally, it was served as a breakfast dish. But since the 1980’s it has gained widespread popularity as an entree on many fine dining menus. Today, the dish has many interpretations and the sauce ingredients and toppings can be as varied as the chefs who undertake the dish, but no matter how it’s made, the rich and creamy concoction is a comfort food that never disappoints. 

Ingredients for Grits:

  • 1 cup (160 g) stone ground grits
  • 2 cups (475 mL) chicken stock
  • 2 cups (475 mL) whole milk
  • 3 tbsp. (45 g) unsalted butter
  • 1 cup (113 g) sharp white cheddar cheese
  • Salt and pepper

Grits Preparation:

Over medium-high heat in a 2 qt. (2 L) pot, bring chicken stock to a boil.

Slowly whisk in grits and return to a boil.

Reduce heat to medium-low and add salt, stirring occasionally to keep grits from sticking to bottom of pan.

As grits thicken (15-20 minutes), add half of milk and stir.

As grits thicken again, about 10 minutes, add remaining milk.

Add butter and stir to melt and incorporate, then slowly whisk in cheese.

Add pepper to taste.

Ingredients for Shrimp and Sauce:

  • 1 lb. (450 g) large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • Spice rub for shrimp: salt, pepper, pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 3 strips of bacon, chopped
  • ¼ cup (40 g) yellow onion, diced
  • ¼ cup (40 g) bell pepper, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp. (30 mL) chopped parsley
  • 2 tbsp. (30 mL) unsalted butter
  • 1 tbsp. (15 mL) all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup (120 mL) chicken stock
  • ½ cup (120 mL) white wine
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) hot sauce
  • 1 lemon, juiced, zested
  • 2 tbsp. (30 mL) heavy cream

Preparation for Shrimp and Sauce:

 Peel, devein, pat dry and then season shrimp with spice rub ingredients – set aside.

Dice bacon and cook in medium saucepan over medium heat.

Add bell pepper, onion, garlic and chopped parsley to pan and reduce heat to medium-low and cook until translucent.

While cooking, melt butter in a small, microwavable dish, and then stir flour into butter.

Add chicken stock to pan, increase heat back to medium heat and reduce liquid in half.

Add white wine, hot sauce and lemon juice/zest and reduce in half again.

Add heavy cream.

Slowly whisk in roux (butter and flour mixture – a little at a time) as sauce comes to a boil.

Once sauce comes to a boil, it should thicken – reduce heat to medium low.

Add shrimp and cook for 3-4 minutes, until shrimp turn pink.

Serve over grits.