Zesty Shrimp & Bacon with Cheddar Grits

Why this recipe?  Shrimp and grits are a quintessential southern dish. Found in many southern coastal restaurants, it's a fisherman's favorite for breakfast—perfect for a long day on the water!  Over the years, shrimp & grits evolved nationwide into fabulous dinner versions by some of the finest chefs.  These Zesty Shrimp and Cheddar Grits are relatively fast to prepare as long as you prep ahead of time!

Grits originated as ground corn food of the Native Americans—called rockahomine (which the colonist changed to hominy). Hominy is ground by stone mills to obtain the coarse grind. The type of grits used makes a huge difference to experienced palates—stone ground is preferred.  

Three quarters of the grits sold in the US are in the South! When traveling through the "grits belt" (Texas to Virginia), you'll find grits is a standard menu item.  I know I'm officially in the south when I start to see grits! Grits are traditionally served with a big patty of melted butter and cracked black pepper or milk. I love mine topped with a perfect over easy egg and fresh cracked pepper!

The Flip: 
  • Reduced salt by a quarter teaspoon (581mg sodium).
  • Switched chicken broth to chicken stock for additional flavor and richness.
  • Changed heavy cream to half and half; lightening up the grits.
  • Changed  bacon to a center-cut bacon; reducing the fat.
  • Switched 1/4 cup of cheddar to Parmesan for additional flavor 
My thoughts:  
Shrimp and Cheddar Grits is a year round dish for my family.  Definitely better when served with a bottle of hot sauce on the side.  Bay scallops in place of  shrimp is delicious.  Enjoy!

  • 2 cups water
  • 1 3/4 cups chicken stock
  • 3/4 cup half and half
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup traditional slow cook grits
  • 3/4 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan, grated
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1/2 tsp hot sauce
  • 1/4 tsp white pepper
  • 3-6 slices center-cut bacon, crisp
  • 1 lb medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp back pepper
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 cup sliced white mushrooms
  • 1 bunch green onions, chopped  (reserve 1/2 cup)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 1/4 tsp hot sauce

  1. For Grits:  In medium saucepan; bring water, stock, half and half, and salt to a boil.  Gradually whisk in grits.  Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes (until thick), stirring occasionally.  Add cheddar, Parmesan, butter, hot sauce and white pepper.  Stir.  Remove from heat and set aside.
  2. In large skillet; cook bacon until crisp.  Reserve 1 tablespoon of bacon grease in skillet. Crumble bacon and set aside. 
  3. Sprinkle peeled and deveined shrimp with salt and pepper; dredge in flour.
  4. Over medium heat; saute mushrooms in skillet with bacon grease for 5 minutes.  Add 1/2 cup green onions; saute 2 minutes.  Add shrimp and garlic; saute for 2 minutes or until lightly brown. 
  5. Add stock, lemon juice and hot sauce and cook for 2 minutes while loosening any particles from the bottom of the skillet.
  6. Serve shrimp mixture over bowls of hot cheddar grits.  Top each serving with crumbled bacon, green onions and hot sauce, if desired.



What do you think?