When you think of Southern food, you probably immediately think fried. While you certainly would be correct about that, there are also some interesting dishes served in the South that we just don’t eat anywhere else. I give you, shrimp and grits. Admittedly, the title does not sound delicious. In reality, though, it’s a creamy, easy-to-make, and very customizable dish. Are you avoiding dairy? Swap the heavy cream for something else! Don’t like onions? Don’t use them! Is it PCS season and you need to get rid of those random capers? Throw them in there too! The basic ingredients are in the title, but the additions are what really makes this dish fantastic. Follow along with our go-to shrimp and grits recipe, and plug in your favorite ingredients to make it your own.
Step 1: Cook the Grits
Grits are super simple to make and are just a vessel for whatever else you put in them. Whether you choose to make these from scratch or you choose to empty the packet, it’s really up to you. The important part is to add butter, cream, milk, and cheese to make the grits extra creamy. You can cook instant grits with water, but they’re a little bland that way.
Step 2: Cook the Extras
Add green onions, bacon, capers, garlic, red peppers, or any other delicious ingredients to a skillet to saute. If you’ll be using bacon, cook that alone, and remove it from the skillet first. Then cook the rest of the ingredients (including the shrimp) in the same skillet as the bacon to capture some of that smokey, delicious bacon flavor.
Step 3: Cook the Shrimp
Add the shrimp to the same skillet you’ve been using for everything else. Shrimp doesn’t take long to cook, so let them saute for about two minutes on each side. Then, add chicken broth, seasonings, and all the extras you previously removed. This will make a delicious gravy-type sauce that you’ll drizzle over the grits in just a moment.
Step 4: Plate it Up
Grits on the bottom, yummy stuff on top. It really is that simple!
If you’re stationed somewhere in Eastern North Carolina (Cherry Point, Camp Lejeune, New River, etc.), make a trip into New Bern, NC to try the shrimp and grits at The Chelsea. Theirs are the best in town!
Recipe Girl has a great and easy-to-follow shrimp and grits recipe, but you can also find many different iterations of this traditional Southern dish online.
Photo Credits: Eastern Sky Photography NC