Shrimp and Grits

Southwestern Style Shrimp and Grits


Shrimp and grits is a very simple dish and there are hundreds of recipes. When I goggled it to write this post, I got 495,000 results!  I found recipes with cheese and cream, tasso and andouille, leeks and tomatoes.  The only constants seemed to be the grits, shrimp, and some type of red pepper spice.

My shrimp and grits recipe has evolved through the years from a few spicy shrimp on top of a bowl of creamy grits, to the recipe you see here.  This recipe was inspired by a bowl of shrimp and grits that I had many years ago at a restaurant in Santa Fe, New Mexico. It was the best shrimp and grits I had ever had. Very traditional in flavor, but had more sauce than the shrimp and grits I was use to. I loved that sauce!  It really made the dish for me because it helped to incorporate the grits into the dish rather than just being a platform for the shrimp.  About a year later I returned to that restaurant for the purpose of ordering another bowl and trying to dissect it, but unfortunately, the restaurant was not longer there.  So at this point I was left to my memory (good luck there), and my taste buds.

This shrimp and grits recipe combines the flavors of Louisiana and the southwest in a pretty traditional southern dish. Don’t be intimidated by the list of ingredients. It really is an easy dish to throw together and takes less than 45 minutes. It tastes like it cooks for hours.

Shrimp and Grits with Red chile powder




Bowl of Shrimp and Grits


Kitchen Notes

The Vegetables - I like using more vegetables than most recipes that you see.  This allows me to serve this as a meal with no need to add a side except for some good bread.  For the onion, you can use just onion, a combination of onion and scallions, or use all scallions with the green tops.  For the pepper, I use poblano for its flavor and a touch of added spice. You can easily replace the poblano with a green bell pepper; however, if it’s a large one, just use half of it.  If you want even more spice, add some chopped green chile or a jalapeno to the grits.

The Stock – I usually make a very simple shrimp stock from the shrimp peels and let it cook while I’m chopping and sauteing.  Once the shrimp has been peeled, add the shells and heads (if you have them) to a pot and cover with water.  Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.  Continue to simmer until you are ready to add it to the skillet.  Pour through a strainer and add the desired amount to the skillet. Freeze the rest for another day.

The Bacon – Be use to use a tasty, thick sliced bacon.  Even though this recipe calls for 4 pieces of bacon, I really only use about 3 pieces. The fourth piece just seems to disappear before it makes it to the bowls.

Cooking the shrimp – The one thing that I really dislike is overcooked shrimp; therefore, the cook time for the shrimp is critical.  If you choose to use small shrimp, cook no more than 3 minutes, medium and large shrimp for 4 minutes and jumbo shrimp no more than 5 minutes.  I always turn the shrimp over halfway through the cook time for even cooking. Once the shrimp turn pink all over, they are done enough.  Keep in mind they are going to continue to cook while they sit in the stock, waiting to be dished up. So when you think “I’ll let them go a little longer”, then it’s definitely time to turn off the heat.

The grits -Some recipes call for the stone ground grits.  These take 20 to 25 minutes to cook.  I use quick grits (NOT instant) which cook in 5 minutes.  Personally, having cooked both quick grits and stone ground, I’ll stick with the quick grits.  I’ve never been able to taste much of a difference.  (To read more about grits, and grits vs. polenta, see my Grits and Green Chile post.)

The top photograph has been submitted in Your Best Recipe @Spicie Foodie.
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This shrimp and grits recipe has been shared with the following blog hops:  Hearth and Soul, Made With Love Mondays .

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78 Responses to “Shrimp and Grits”

  1. Jodee Weiland March 1, 2014 at 6:53 pm #

    MJ, this looks absolutely wonderful! My husband loves shrimp and grits. He would definitely love this recipe. I know I would as well. We’ll have to try this. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Javelin Warrior June 4, 2013 at 6:38 pm #

    This sounds so good, MJ – I love the use of the poblano for heat and the mix of herbs and spices to flavor everything. I’ve never been much of a grits person for breakfast, but like this, I’m sure I could eat a very generous helping!

  3. Michelle @ Greedy Gourmet March 8, 2013 at 6:56 am #

    Truth be told, I’ve never had grits. The first time I came across it was in the movie The Secret Life of Bees, had to stand on her knees on grits for punishment and she didn’t particularly like them. No matter, I’ll try them next I’m in the USA, don’t know when though!

  4. Nancy/SpicieFoodie March 6, 2013 at 3:36 pm #

    I’ve never had shrimp and grits before, but your gorgeous photos are making me want to reach into my screen. Yummers!! Thanks for being a part of the YBR.

  5. Debbie @ Easy Natural Food March 4, 2013 at 11:07 pm #

    I’m not familiar with grits at all (I just googled it!) but I love shrimp and the seasonings sound delicious! It looks sooo tasty!

  6. Swathi March 4, 2013 at 7:16 pm #

    Delicious and perfect meal MJ

  7. anna February 28, 2013 at 10:09 pm #

    this sounds delicious! i am on the lookout for seafood recipes, can’t wait to try this one!

  8. Lori Lynn February 23, 2013 at 2:15 pm #

    Seriously! This is calling me! I think the way you balance the sauce, grits, and shrimp is perfect. Mouthwatering images too!

  9. Bill February 20, 2013 at 7:47 am #

    What a great recipe. I love the addition of poblano peppers. Guess that’s your southwest influence, huh? :-) I’ve got to try this. Thanks for sharing!

    • mj February 20, 2013 at 9:20 am #

      Thanks Bill! I also use New Mexico red chile power in the creole blend rather than cayenne. It’s actually not as spicy and yields a slightly different flavor. But then I am addicted to NM chile. :)

  10. Karen (Back Road Journal) February 20, 2013 at 7:01 am #

    Shrimp and grits are a favorite dish that I like to order when traveling in the south. Your recipe sounds terrific.

  11. shuhan February 19, 2013 at 3:50 am #

    might be a simple and classic dish for you, but I’ve not had it before, growing up in asia or now, while in london. guess it’s a very classic american dish! looking forward to trying this out if I can get hold of grits! Polenta is easy to get hold of, grits unfortuantely not :/

    • mj February 20, 2013 at 9:19 am #

      thanks Shuhan! Actually, it is a classic southern American dish. It’s not well known in the northern and western areas of the U.S. so it’s not surprising that you haven’t heard of it. It’s quite good and should be great over polenta. I hope you get to try it.

  12. Helene Dsouza I Masala Herb February 19, 2013 at 3:38 am #

    I don’t recall having a prawns and grits dish before. It sounds absolutely perfect, you know I am a polenta nerd. =D

  13. Food Jaunts February 18, 2013 at 10:51 am #

    So a confession – I’ve never tried shrimp and grits! Funnily enough I was just looking at a recipe this past weekend thinking it was something I needed to remedy. This recipe looks perfect – I’ll be giving it a shot soon!

    • mj February 20, 2013 at 9:17 am #

      Thanks FJ! I hope you enjoy them!

  14. adam @unorthodoxepicure February 17, 2013 at 3:57 pm #

    This is absolutely beautiful!

  15. Rita Bose February 17, 2013 at 4:05 am #

    This dish looks delicious!! Shrimps and grit-Sounds like a new idea!! Thanx for sharing!!

    • mj February 17, 2013 at 11:43 am #

      Thanks Rita! Actually, this recipe has been around for years in the southern U.S. It’s one of those southern classics that just keeps going strong. :)

  16. Anne@FromMySweetHeart February 16, 2013 at 8:47 am #

    Oh MJ….this looks so comforting and good! Can I confess to you that I’ve never made grits before. I always think it’s one of those fussy things to make that will either be perfect or disastrous! But I love shrimp and this looks too good not to try! : )

    • mj February 17, 2013 at 11:42 am #

      Thanks Anne! I’m actually not surprised that you haven’t had grits before. Can you even get them where you are? You might be a little too far north for the market. Usually they are next to the oatmeal in the cereal aisle. Even here you have to look for them. If you can find them, you should give them a try. I think you’ll like them!

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