Shrimp and Cheesy Grits

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

I had every intention of sharing my cooking adventures here long before now, but I'm so bad at taking pictures while I'm cooking. I get into the zone and realize halfway through the recipe that I haven't taken a single picture, or I take pictures of all of the steps, then dig in when it's done, forgetting to take a picture of the finished product before it's half eaten and mangled. Who wants to hover over hot, ready to eat food worrying about lighting and angles and trying to get your camera to focus correctly anyway? Not I, but I managed to suck it up and get a few decent pictures this time around, so I thought I would make history with my first recipe post.

Cooking has always been a significant part of my life. I have tons of memories of helping my mom in the kitchen or cooking breakfast with my sister, bowing and laughing as the bacon 'applauded' us. Among the  many things I, at one point in my childhood, said I wanted to be, a famous chef was one of them. I don't have any funny stories to tell about how bad my cooking was or how we ate pizza for a week because I kept burning dinner when we had just gotten married. I can't even wrap my mind around the fact that there are people out there who can't manage to cook macaroni and cheese out of a box. Cooking just comes naturally to me. I have a love for food, family dinners, and trying different recipes that I hope to pass on to my children, so I thought I would start recording our favorite recipes in one place, so that I can eventually make them into something special to give to each of them.

Without further ado, I introduce to you Alex's favorite meal, shrimp and grits

This is one of those Southern meals that most people who didn't grow up eating grits wouldn't think about trying, but I promise you, these are not your ordinary grits. If you've never had grits before, this is the dish to try them in. If you don't like grits, give these a chance. I can almost guarantee you will love them. This recipe has two parts to it, the cheesy grits and the sauce that you top them with. It doesn't really matter what you fix first because both can be left on low and kept warm while the other cooks with no harm done. I usually throw everything into the sauce, except for the shrimp, bacon, and half and half, and keep it warm while I cook the grits. If you happen to cook the grits first, and after letting them sit for a few minutes the cheese hardens and makes the mixture a big rubbery, just add a little more half and half and stir before serving.

The first step is to fry the bacon. For this dish, I usually make it pretty crispy, since I'll be putting it into a liquid and no one likes soggy bacon.

While the bacon is cooking, slice up the mushrooms - or you can buy the pre-sliced mushrooms. I'm just cheap and the whole ones always look fresher, so I take the extra time to slice them. When the bacon is done, set it aside on a paper towel to drain. Don't pour out your grease! This is basically the foundation of your sauce and what you'll cook your mushrooms in. Healthy, I know.

Saute the mushrooms in the bacon drippings (sounds better than grease, right?) for 5 minutes, along with the garlic. After the mushrooms have released their moisture, add the chicken broth, lemon juice, and a dash or two of hot sauce. Add as much or little hot sauce as you like, but don't skip out on it entirely. It really does add to the flavor of the dish. Set this aside and let it barely simmer while you move on to making the grits. (I wish I had a picture of the simmering, almost finished sauce, but this is my first attempt at food blogging so bear with me.)

Combine the chicken broth, half and half, water, and salt in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat a bit, and gradually add the grits, whisking them in as you go. Let it simmer for 10 minutes, stirring regularly. If all of the liquid seems to cook out before the 10 minutes is up, taste the grits and if they're still a bit crunchy or chewy, add a bit more water and continue simmering - a few tablespoons will do. When the grits have a few minutes left to cook, return to your sauce, add your shrimp, crumbled bacon, and half and half. Let it simmer until the shrimp have turned pink (3-5 minutes), but not too long or your shrimp will have the texture of a rubber band. To finish the grits off, gradually add the Cheddar and Parmesan cheese, stirring as you go, then stir in a dash or two of hot sauce. (I promise you the hot sauce is needed. This isn't a super spicy dish. All of the cream and cheese mellow out the spice of the hot sauce pretty well.) Pour the sauce over the grits and serve with a lemon wedge. Enjoy!

Sauce Ingredients:
  • 4 slices of Bacon
  • 1 pound of large or jumbo Shrimp - raw, peeled, and deveined
  • 8 ounces of Mushrooms, washed and sliced
  • 2 cloves of Garlic, minced (or the equivalent in garlic powder)
  • 1/2 cup of Chicken Broth
  • 2 tablespoons fresh Lemon Juice
  • 1/4 cup of Half and Half
  • 1-2 dashes of Hot Sauce*
Cheesy Grits Ingredients:
  • 1 1/2 cups of Chicken Broth
  • 1 cup of Half and Half
  • 1 1/2 cups of Water
  • 3/4 teaspoon of Salt
  • 1 cup of Old Fashioned Grits
  • 3/4 cup Cheddar Cheese, shredded
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan Cheese, grated**
  • 1-2 dashes of Hot Sauce*
* I estimate I add about 1/2 of a teaspoon for those who don't like to measure in 'dashes.'
**If you don't happen to have Parmesan cheese, just add another 1/4 cup of Cheddar cheese.

Let me know if you try it, how you like it, and if you changed anything. Feel free to share any of your favorite recipes too!


  1. This is soooo cool sissy! You did a nice job on the pictures too. You should be a writer or journalist for a magazine, newspaper or something. Food blogging seems to come naturally to you. Why don't you try to do some freelance work to get some experience? The cool thing is you can do it from home and still be a stay at home Mama! I plan to try this recipe (without the bacon of course :). It will be on my list of things to do when this summer semester is over! I'll let you know how it turns out.



© The Long Way Home All rights reserved . Design by Blog Milk Powered by Blogger