Gulf Shrimp and Creamy Cheddar Grits

Shrimp and Grits This popular and versatile dish can be served at either brunch or dinner.  Since it's quite the task to make, I decided to make it for a very special occasion--Christmas Eve brunch in Baton Rouge.  Due to this dish's popularity, I often forget how southern it actually is.  That is, I forgot until I offered my mid-America-born and raised grandmother some, and she promptly declined, reminding me that she eats neither grits nor shrimp.

In this recipe, I used fresh Louisiana gulf shrimp, and stone ground grits.  Stone ground grits cook incredible slowly, resulting in a super creamy and luxurious texture--so creamy that the grits can hardly be considered grits.  The shrimp itself is cooked with andouille sausage--adding spiciness and smokiness--hallmarks of Louisiana cooking.  Plus, homemade shrimp stock is reduced with a host of flavorful vegetables and herbs, adding layers upon layers of complexity and depth.  

I can't speak highly enough of this amazing recipe!  Do yourself a favor and try it.  You won't be disappointed.

Creamy cheddar stone-ground grits

Homemade shrimp and grits

Gulf Shrimp and Creamy Cheddar Grits
Author: Emeril
Serves: 4 servings
  • 3 cups water
  • 3 cups milk
  • 1 + 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 4 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 3/4 cup stone-ground grits
  • 6 ounces cheddar cheese, grated
  • 3 pounds shrimp (head-on)
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup finely chopped andouille or smoked sausage
  • 1 cup finely chopped onion
  • 2 tablespoons minced shallot
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon green onion, chopped
  • 1 cup stewed tomatoes
  • 1 cup shrimp stock (See previous post for recipe)
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • fresh parsley and chopped green onion for serving
  1. Prepare grits: Combine water, milk, 1 teaspoon salt, pepper, and 1 tablespoon butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil. Slowly whisk in grits. Reduce heat to simmering. Cook, stirring frequently, 60-90 minutes, until the grits are creamy and tender throughout. (If the grits have absorbed all of the liquid and are not finished cooking, add more water.) Remove from heat, and add one tablespoon butter and cheese. Stir, and serve immediately (can be prepared in advance and reheated over low heat).
  2. Peel and devein shrimp, reserving heads and shells for shrimp stock.
  3. While grits are cooking, combine paprika, salt, and cayenne pepper in a bowl. Add shrimp and coat with seasonings.
  4. Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium-high. Once the oil is hot, add shrimp in batches and saute about 90 seconds for each side. Transfer to a plate and set aside.
  5. Prepare sauce by melting one tablespoon butter in skillet. Add chopped sausage and saute 3-5 minutes, until fat has rendered and sausage is crispy. Add onions and saute 2 minutes. Add garlic, shallots, and green onions and saute one minute. Add stewed tomatoes and saute one minute.
  6. Increase heat to high, add shrimp stock, and simmer until most of the liquid has evaporated--about 5 minutes. Add sour cream and stir.
  7. Fold shrimp into sauce. Cook until the shrimp are hot and cooked through, about 3 minutes. Adjust seasoning if needed.
  8. Serve hot over grits. Garnish with green onions and parsley.