True Grits

Living in Southern California, there’s no shortage of great food. I enjoy my share of seafood tacos & carne asada fries (not to mention the bevy of award-winning chefs). Yet, there remains a void in my southern-rooted, food-loving soul—earmuffs San Diego, EARMUFFS!

Growing-up with meals like pork chops & black eyed peas, I have a deep affinity for southern classics. One of my favorites is undoubtedly shrimp & grits. It’s perfect, I promise. If you’ve never thought of a grit as anything other than coarse asphalt, then I assure you this is an edible victory (ground corn + broth + butter + cheeses = success)! If a meal could be a hug, well then this would be it. My Mom loved shrimp & grits, and so do I. Preparing it is pretty easy. The longest steps are the ever-cumbersome shelling & de-veining of the shrimp <insert glass of good wine here> and making the roux for the sauce. If you can find the fresh shrimp pre, de-veined & peeled, I say do it (but keep that glass of wine).

Let’s make this—we’re overdue for a little soul-warming aren’t we?



5 from 1 reviews
Shrimp & Grits
a southern classic
Serves: 4 servings (20 shrimp)
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
What to get:
  • 1 cup stone ground white grits (not instant)
  • 2.5 cups water
  • 1 cup chicken broth (divided in ½)
  • 1.5 cups half & half (or cream)
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • ¾ cup sharp cheddar cheese (shredded)
  • ¼ cup parmesan cheese (shredded)
Shrimp & Sauce:
  • 1 lb (~20) raw shrimp (peeled & deveined)
  • 4 green onions (whites chopped, reserve chopped greens for garnish)
  • ¼ cup sweet white onion, chopped
  • 4 garlic colves, (one sliced thinly, other 3 finely chopped)
  • 2 cups sliced white button mushrooms
  • 6 bacon slices (will cook in skillet & reserve drippings)
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 1 can chicken broth (we will use ~1 cup in increments)
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • creole seasoning, to taste
  • paprika, to taste
  • sea salt, to taste
  • ground black pepper, to taste
  • cayenne pepper, to taste
What to do:
Cook Shrimp:
  1. Lay peeled shrimp out in a single layer, to season lightly with creole seasoning, sea salt & black pepper—repeat on other side, set aside.
  2. In large skillet, fry 6 strips of bacon until crisp, remove slices to drain & chop, reserve grease in pan.
  3. Preheat skillet with bacon drippings on medium & cook shrimp on first side for ~2 mins, then flip & cook on other side for ~2 mins (until pink/just cooked-through, but not overcooked—we will add shrimp back into sauce at the end to reheat).
  4. Set shrimp aside on plate & reserve pan drippings (DO NOT rinse pan—we make sauce with base).
Start Grits:
  1. In a pot on medium-low combine: grits, water, ½ cup of the broth, half-&-half, butter, salt & pepper, bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low & cover (simmering until most liquid is absorbed ~ 25-35 mins) stirring often while cooking.
  2. Once grits have absorbed liquid and are thickened, stir in cheeses and melt, then cover & move off direct heat (we will add more stock and heat slightly once sauce is done).
Make Sauce & Finish Meal::
  1. On medium-low, reheat skillet with dripping & add 2 tbsp butter until melted.
  2. Sauté white onion, garlic, and the white portion of the 4 green onions, & season with pinch of sea salt & black pepper—stirring occasionally to cook though (~5mins).
  3. Add lemon juice, sliced mushrooms & 1 tbsp butter, stir & continue cooking for 2 mins, then add 3 tbsps of chicken broth & continue to cook on medium-low until mushrooms are tender/browning.
  4. Make roux on medium heat: sprinkle mushroom mix with 1 tbsp flour, stir & let cook ~2 mins until mix thickens, then slowly stir-in ½ cup chicken stock (a few tbsps at a time, stirring constantly), until sauce is semi-thick (stir in more broth as needed so mix is medium thickness and almost has a glossy sheen.
  5. Warm pot with cheese grits on low & add ¼ cup of broth to thin (they should be creamy but stir easily).
  6. Add back shrimp to sauce in skillet and season to taste with paprika & cayenne (I add just a dash of each, but you can add more heat as desired, test and add more salt to taste).
  7. Serve each plate with portion of grits, top with shrimp mix, garnish with s sprinkle of the chopped green onion, chopped bacon, and Tobasco (optional).
This is fairly easy, but have to be careful not to overcook the shrimp and if the sauce requires more or less broth, adjust accordingly. More fluid can also be added to thin the grits as desired, and they can be made a day ahead and reheated on the stove with extra broth to save a step day-of. Increase heat level with more cayenne and/or serve with hot sauce or tabasco sauce.


Shrimp & Grits are as old as the south itself, but the dish’s resurgence in the early 1980’s plotted it’s stay on the culinary-canvas of the region (and the nation), indefinitely. It’s satisfying, savory, forgiving, and welcoming of different flavors, whether it is creole with Andoullie sausage & peppers, or Charleston-style with a tomato-base. In Georgia, this is a very common brunch dish, adorned often with fried eggs, or mushrooms and veggies, over cheese grits. That’s the base I’m most familiar with, and have adapted my family’s recipe from. I hope you enjoy this special meal as much as I always will.


shrimp & grits2


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Thank you for visiting the dinnervine! In the words of Julia Child, "People who love to eat, are always the best people," and I couldn't agree more. I hope you enjoy these dishes as much as I did making them. Here's to creating new recipes and memories with friends & family, cheers! 

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