Grits with Shrimp and Sausage


Years ago I tagged along on a business trip my husband took to Charleston, South Carolina. I ordered shrimp and grits at our first dinner there. I’d previously not been a huge cornmeal fan.

Well, thank you Charleston. I’m a huge fan now. The secret is butter, cream and cheese. Which, of course, can make anything better.

So I’m making some grits today that will be served with shrimp and Andouille sausage for a Creole flair.

Similar to making risotto, you don’t have to use this recipe to a T. You can use butter and cream in your grits, you can use butter and cheese, or use all three! It just depends how you want your grits to turn out.

Get creative with grits. I didn’t include cheese in this recipe but think about the options – smoked mozzarella, feta, cheddar, Boursin, you name it. It all works.

Creamy Grits with Shrimp and Sausage

1 1/2 cups water
1 1/2 cup milk
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
Pinch of salt
1 cups grits, I use a medium grind
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
2 tablespoons bacon grease or oil
14 ounces Andouille sausage, sliced
1 pound shrimp, shelled, cleaned, rinsed, dried
Black pepper
Grated Parmesan for serving, optional
Cayenne pepper flakes, optional

Add the water, milk, butter and the salt to a dutch oven over medium heat until the butter melts.

Add the grits and cook them, whisking constantly, for about 5 minutes.

Depending on what cornmeal you’re using (there’s everything from corn flour to a coarse grind) you can follow the recipe on the package, then there’s no guesswork.

If you think the grits are too thick, add some water, cream, broth – whatever you want to thin it slightly using a whisk. When you’re sure it’s done, and quits thickening, add the white pepper, paprika, and thyme. Cover the pot and set the grits aside.

Put a large skillet over high heat and add the bacon grease or oil. I had cooked some bacon, so I left the grease in the pan just for this purpose. Add the sausage slices and brown them on both sides. When they’re all browned, scoop them up with a slotted spoon and place them in a large bowl. But keep the skillet on the stove with the oil.

Salt and pepper all of the shrimp. Add the shrimp, in batches, and cook them in the same grease until they are opaque. This only takes a minute. Place the cooked shrimp in the bowl with the sausage, and continue with the remaining shrimp.

When it is time to serve, have your grits, shrimp, and sausage all warm. Place some of the grits in a pasta bowl. Then top with the shrimp and sausage.

I always like to offer cayenne pepper flakes, just because I like things spicy, but that’s optional. You could even serve Tabasco or another hot sauce.

Chopped green onions are also good.

Because I didn’t include cheese in the grits, I thought I’d serve some Parmesan as an optional topping.

Parmesan takes it over the top, but other cheeses could be used as well.

46 thoughts on “Grits with Shrimp and Sausage

  1. That looks great. I’ve never eaten grits. Sounds awful to us English … gritty things aren’t good! But reading your post it sounds like polenta (which can be a bit gritty :) ) … and I do like … but only dressed up with cheese and lots of butter, much like you’ve done here. Polenta is usually bright yellow corn but I had quite of bit of white polenta in Venice last year … grits???

    • I maybe should have more specific, but I think I’ve already done two polenta posts and I didn’t want to be repetitive. But grits and polenta are exactly the same thing – corn meal. There is yellow, and white. And, there are different grind sizes. The cheap kind is typically very fine for quick cooking, and also de-germed to that it lasts longer on the shelf, and also is much less healthy. That’s why I prefer the coarser grind. And I buy yellow because I feel like color means more healthy, like colorful veggies. Grits is a horrible name, which I think is another reason why I avoided them for so long. But once they’re cooked, they are just smooth like polenta.

      • Thanks for demystifying the polenta/ grits thing. I ate grits once in the USA. They were not to my taste at all so have avoided them ever since. Polenta I adore. I guess there are good cooks and bad cooks worldwide. Time to revisit grits……..😀

      • They are one and the same, however, in the US, you can get finely ground grits, medium, and coarser ground ones. So that might change the texture somewhat. There’s also white and yellow and blue. But yes, they maybe weren’t made well.

  2. Lovely post. It is impossible to get grits here in France, but everytime a friend from the States visits, that is the one thing I ask for (and maple syrup). I adore shrimp and grits! Lovely post. Next time I have grits, I will be making this!

  3. This has become a favorite dish of mine since relocating to North Carolina. I really love it and you’ve photographed it beautifully, Chef Mimi…I’m sure non-southerners will want (no, they need to) try this. All that’s missing is the sweet tea!

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