Real Southern Cajun Shrimp & Grits

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All thumbs up! 👍👍👍 My first ever attempt at making shrimp and grits was a smashing success! I had planned to do a shrimp and crawfish boil, but Noah wasn’t going to be home til late and Zac had mentioned shrimp and grits the other day so I bought a box of grits. They’d been a no-no on my low carb diet for years…but I love them! Noah doesn’t like grits so this turned out to be the best night to give Cajun Shrimp & Grits a try. 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 tastebuds from extreme heat. I don’t do well at all with anything that burns my tongue. But get this – Zac said my cheese grits were the best grits he’s ever had! And the ham gravy and perfectly seasoned shrimp put this dish at the top of his list of favorite foods I make. 😀

The perfectly seasoned shrimp is so tender and the ham gravy came out deliciously thick and creamy. The hardest part of this famous Louisiana entree 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. 🙂

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.

I hope you give this recipe a try. Don’t let the ingredient list scare you away! The flavor is incredible with nary a kick to heat your tongue. And for those looking to kick it up a notch or two, add more Frank’s Red Hot Sauce. My guys seems to like it best. 😊

And now for a bit of levity…

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