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by on September 13th, 2009

Shrimp and Cheese Grits

Charleston was a delight and the food was absolutely wonderful and shrimp and grits is one of my favorites.

Shut my mouth! I declare! Butter my biscuit! I feel like I should be saying all these things about these Shrimp and Cheese Grits.

My daughter and I just returned from Charleston. This was our 4th  mother/daughter trip and this year and we shared it with my twin sister and her son.

Born and raised in southeast Missouri which is right on the Arkansas and Tennessee borders and the Mississippi river I always thought of myself as a southerner. We ate southern food like black eyed peas, hog jowl, fried green tomatoes, fried pork chops, fried chicken (everything good and fried) but I never had grits growing up.

In fact, I didn’t have grits until I lived in Kansas City and a neighbor from Atlanta brought me over a bowl of buttered grits one morning. They were so smooth and creamy I fell in love with them. And what I remember about shrimp was it came from a box, butterflied and breaded and we sometimes ate it after church on Sunday. Now, we can get all the fresh seafood we want here in Texas and I can’t think of a better thing to do with the the two than to make Shrimp and Cheese grits.

Upon arriving in Charleston we had a late lunch at Fleet Landing down by the water. I had a wonderful fried green tomato stacked with crab salad, which I plan to try to make soon. We got into the laid back pace of Charleston pretty quickly. Sailing, champagne, wine, oysters, shrimp, fried green tomatoes— ahhhh!

Our first night we all took a low country cooking class at Charleston Cooks. There were 11 of us in the class and we all pitched in and by the end of the class we had before us a beautiful plate of Lime, Tomato and Grilled Corn Salad, Pulled Pork BBQ with Sweet Mustard Sauce, Carolina Red Rice, Blue Cheese Slaw and the yummiest Fried Peach Pies with vanilla ice cream. We ate it all!.

One day we went to the farmer’s market and bought some produce and these wonderful grits. (See the email address on the package in case you want to order some.)

These are the creamiest grits I have ever tasted and I learned there is a difference in stone ground grits and the ones I have been buying in the grocery stored called “quick grits”. The stone ground grits are creamier and I think have more of a corn flavor. So, as soon as we returned home, I couldn’t wait to use these for my shrimp and grits recipe.

Shrimp, green onions, mushroom and bacon, how can that not taste wonderful on top of a plate of creamy cheese grits.

The recipe doesn’t call for browning the bacon until it is crisp but I really like the crunchy texture with the creaminess of the grits.

All the browning and cooking is done in stages and everything gets added together at the end. You can add a dash of hot sauce if you like.

A garlic tip — when you need garlic for a recipe, give it a few rough chops with your chef’s knife. Add a pinch or two of kosher salt and then using the side of the blade, start mashing it and dragging the knife over the garlic and the salt.

And, if you keep working the knife across the garlic you will end up with a garlic paste that will give your dish a lot more garlic flavor than just putting whole or chopped garlic in the dish.


Shrimp and Cheese Grits

4 c. milk
1 c. water
1 c. stone ground grits
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. coarse ground black pepper
1 stick butter
dash of nutmeg
8 oz. cheddar cheese
12 slices thick sliced applewood bacon, coarsely chopped
2 lb. shrimp (uncooked), peeled and deveined
8 oz. mushrooms, sliced
1 bunch green onions, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 1/2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
hot pepper sauce, to taste
1/4 c. chopped parsley

In a large saucepan bring the milk, water, butter, grits, and salt to a boil. Reduce heat and stir occasionally until mixture is thick and grits are tender, about 20-30 minutes.  Whisk in the cheese and nutmeg. Cover and set aside.

Cook the chopped bacon in a heavy skillet until brown and crisp. Transfer the bacon to a small bowl using slotted spoon. Pour off half of the drippings from skillet. Add shrimp to same skillet and cook until just pink, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer shrimp to a plate using slotted spoon. Add mushrooms to same skillet and saute until tender, about 4 minutes. Add green onions and garlic and saute 3 minutes. Return shrimp and bacon to skillet. Mix in lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper and hot pepper sauce to taste.

Bring grits to simmer, adding water by tablespoons if too thick. Spoon grits onto plates. Spoon shrimp mixture over. Sprinkle with parsley and serve. 4-6 servings. Enjoy!

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2 comments to Shrimp and Cheese Grits

  • Leslie

    I just returned from my first visit to Charleston where I fell in love with shrimp and grits at Fleet Landing. Is this recipe close to the one they have? Also, what type of knife do you use to smash the garlic? I can’t seem to get mine to work.
    Thanks for the photos- your blog is lots of fun!

  • Leslie, hope you enjoy my recipe as much as we do. Loved our trip to Charleston. Going to New Orleans this weekend and hoping for more good food experiences.

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