Cajun Shrimp and Grits Like NOLA’s

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All thumbs up! 👍👍 My first ever attempt at making shrimp and grits was a smashing success! I planned to do a shrimp and crawfish boil, but Noah wouldn’t be home til late. And Zac mentioned shrimp and grits the other day so I bought a box of grits. Anything made from corn is a no-no on my perpetually low carb dieting…but I love them! However, Noah isn’t fond of grits so this turned out to be the best night to give Cajun Shrimp and Grits a try.

Southern Cajun Shrimp & Grits | Culinary Craftiness

The Best Cheese Grits Ever!

I read quite a few recipes and looked at a bunch of different pictures to come up with a flavor profile that wouldn’t destroy my taste buds. I don’t do well at all with anything that burns my tongue off. Subsequently, the recipe I developed is beyond incredible! And get this – Zac said my cheese grits are the best grits he’s ever tasted! The ham gravy and perfectly seasoned shrimp put this dish at the top of his list of favorite foods I make. 😃

The herb and spice dusted shrimp (similar to my Buttery Blackened Shrimp) is incredibly tender and the ham gravy deliciously thick and creamy. The hardest part of this famous Louisiana entrée is making the grits. Have everything measured and at hand before you start. It’s not that difficult, but once you put the dry grits in the boiling liquid, be ready to whisk and add the rest of the ingredients. Once that’s done and out of the way, it’s smooth sailing thereafter. 🙂

Amazing Cheese Grits | Culinary Craftiness
Perfectly Cheesy Grits

Southern Cajun Shrimp & Grits

Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time40 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Cajun, Cheese, Grits, Louisiana, Old Bay, Shrimp, Southern
Servings: 6
Author: Melissa

Ingredients

Shrimp:

  • 1 1/2 lbs uncooked, deveined shrimp med.-large
  • 3 tbsp Old Bay seasoning
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 3 tbsp dried Italian seasoning blend
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 3 tbsp butter for sautéing

Cheesy Grits

  • 3 cups water
  • 3 cubes Knorr chicken bouillon
  • 1/2 stick butter divided
  • 1 1/2 cups quick grits
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 cup fiesta (or Mexican blend) shredded cheese

Ham Gravy

  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp jarred minced garlic
  • 4 tbsp unbleached flour
  • 1 cup chicken stock (hot water & Knorr cube)
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2-3 dashes Worcestershire sauce
  • 2-3 dashes Frank’s Red Hot Sauce
  • 2/3 cup Smithfield diced ham or tasso ham

Instructions

  • Peel and devein the shrimp (under cold running water makes it easier). Pat dry with paper towels and spread out on a cookie sheet or larger shallow container. Liberally sprinkle with the Old Bay, paprika, Italian seasoning, and pepper. Toss to coat all over. Set aside while you make the grits.
    In a medium saucepan, bring water, Knorr cubes and 3 tablespoons of the butter to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium then add the grits, whisking briskly for 2-3 minutes. Add tomato paste, heavy cream, 3 tablespoons of butter, and cheese. Keep whisking for another couple of minutes. Don’t be stingy with the butter and cream! Remove from heat and cover. Set aside. 
    In a large skillet over medium-high heat, melt 3 tablespoons of butter. Add minced garlic and sauté a minute. Add the shrimp and cook until just pink and tender. Don’t overcook. Remove the shrimp from the pan and set aside in a covered bowl. 
    Reduce the heat to medium and add the 4 tablespoons of butter to the skillet. Sprinkle the flour over the melted butter. Whisk or stir for a few minutes to make a nice light brown roux. Add the chicken stock and heavy cream. Whisk or stir for 2 minutes, then add the diced ham, Worcestershire, and hot sauce. 
    To serve, put two heaping spoonfuls of hot cheese grits on the bottom of a plate or bowl, top with a couple of tablespoons of ham gravy, and pile on the hot shrimp.
Perfectly Seasoned Shrimp for Grits | Culinary Craftiness
Southern Cajun Shrimp & Grits | Culinary Craftiness
Add more butter to the pan
Add flour to make a roux
Add milk and whisk to make a gravy

Look at this delicious pic of Cajun Shrimp and Grits 😃

If your gravy turns out too thin, serve this dish with a piece of crusty bread to sop up all the goodness! I recommend your favorite frozen garlic bread baked until nicely brown. You can make it homemade, but there’s really no need to reinvent the wheel. Likewise, starting with a quick cooking grits helps if you’re short on time.

Southern Cajun Shrimp & Grits | Culinary Craftiness

I hope you give this recipe a try. Don’t let the ingredient list scare you away! The flavor is incredible without destroying your tongue. And for those looking to kick the heat up a notch or two, add more Frank’s Red Hot Sauce. My guys seem to like that brand best. 😊 Happy eating!

And now for a bit of levity… Looks like pine tree pollen season in Florida! LOL

Funny!
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