True Grit: Shrimp and Grits – North Carolina

Grits are about as synonymous with the South as sweet tea and pulled pork barbeque. For those unfamiliar, grits are made with stone-ground cornmeal. Think of them as the southern version of polenta.

Shrimp and grits North Carolina

 

Grits are a carb that can be dressed up sweet — with a little pat of butter and maple syrup — or like in this recipe, savory — with cheese. The quintessential pairing of shrimp and grits is one that you will find in kitchens from Wilmington to Charlotte with tons of variations in between. We like this version, which is slightly adapted from Saveur. Just don’t use instant grits which are gluey and bland. To quote the 1992 film classic My Cousin Vinny, “no self-respectin’ Southerner uses instant grits.”

Wilmington is home to the annual North Carolina Azalea Festival, April 6-10, 2016. Celebrate spring with arts and crafts shows, entertainment, kids’ activities, a street fair and live music.

Shrimp and Grits

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients

  • 4 cups water
  • 1 cup white stone ground grits
  • 3/4 cup grated cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 4 slices of bacon
  • 1 lb. medium peeled shrimp (about 30)
  • 6 white mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon hot sauce
  • 4 scallions, thinly sliced
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Instructions

In a medium saucepan, bring 4 cups of water to boil. Reduce heat to low and stir in grits. Cook on low, whisking frequently, until grits are cooked through and are tender and creamy, about 30-40 minutes. Add cheeses and 1 tablespoon butter. Salt to taste. Set aside.

Cook bacon in a medium skillet until browned and crisp. Remove to paper towel. Set aside. Reserve the bacon fat.

Season the shrimp with salt and pepper. Using the same pan over medium-high heat, cook the shrimp until pink and no longer opaque. Transfer shrimp to a plate. Lower heat to medium. Add mushrooms and cook until browned. Add garlic and cook until golden, about 1 minute. Return heat to high, add broth. Scrape browned bits from pan and then let liquid reduce by about half. Return shrimp to pan, then add lemon juice, remaining 1 tablespoon of butter, and hot sauce. Cook until sauce thickens, stirring constantly. Season again with salt and pepper if necessary.

To serve, divide grits into 4 portions. Add shrimp and sauce. Top with bacon and scallions.

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6 thoughts on “True Grit: Shrimp and Grits – North Carolina”

  1. Hey Kat! looks super yummy (corn grits + bacon + shrimp!) I’ve only had grits once (in upstate NY of all places) and they were yellow. I’d love to give this a try!
    P.S. I bought the pinto beans for your bean recipe– just have to find time to put them on!

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