I have the best shrimp and grits recipe Charleston style for you, straight from the low country in South Carolina. Bacon adds a delicious, smokey undertone to this dish but you can substitute turkey bacon (you’ll have to add oil or butter to make the roux), ham or smoked sausage if you like.
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The key to this flavorful recipe is to start with high quality ingredients like Wild American Shrimp. Shrimp from the warm, nutrient-rich waters of the South Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico is some of the most delicious shrimp in the world. The best way to take advantage of all this flavor is to make shrimp stock with the shrimp shells and use that stock for the sauce in the recipe. I use easy peel (EZ peel) shrimp that come with the shell and tail on but the shell is split down the back and the “vein” is removed. Pull the shells off, drop them in a pot with water and simmer. That’s it! You got shrimp stock.
If you like shrimp you’re gonna LOVE this recipe!
There are a few steps but the recipe is not very difficult. After I brown some bacon I cook the seasoned shrimp in the bacon fat. Remove the cooked shrimp and cook the onions and garlic in the same pan. Sprinkle in some flour, add shrimp stock and simmer. The fat and flour combination makes a roux which will thicken the sauce.
The rosemary, Worcestershire sauce and fresh lemon juice introduce some amazing depth of flavor to the sauce. Add the shrimp back to the sauce, serve over grits, top with bacon, chopped tomato and scallions and serve.
I cooked most of this dish in an enamel coated cast iron pan like this one available on Amazon
This pan is a workhorse in the kitchen and the 6 quart size is perfect for one pot meals. It’s available in a wide variety of sizes and colors, check them out!
The best shrimp and grits recipe Charleston style
- 1 cup of grits cooked according to package directions
- 3 tablespoons Boursin cheese optional
- 2 pounds easy peel shrimp 21-20 size
- 1/4-1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper more or less depending on how spicy you like it
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 3 slices of bacon
- 1/2 cup of diced ham optional
- 2 tablespoons of butter or canola oil may be necessary if the bacon doesn't give you enough fat
- 3 Tablespoons of all purpose flour
- ¼ cup onions-minced
- 4 scallions
- 2 cloves of garlic-minced
- 2 cups of shrimp stock or chicken stock
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 sprig of fresh rosemary-about 2 inches long
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 chopped tomato for garnish
- Cook grits according to package directions. When it's finished you can stir in the optional Boursin cheese for an extra savory touch
- Make shrimp stock
- Peel and de-vein shrimp save the shrimp shells. Put shrimp shells in a pot and add 4 cups of water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer. Simmer for 30 minutes. Drain, reserve liquid and discard shells. This is your shrimp stock, you should have about 2 cups. If you have less than 2 cups add a little water to get there.
- OR USE CHICKEN STOCK
- Season shrimp with ½ teaspoon of salt, 1/4 teaspoon of pepper, paprika and the cayenne pepper. Refrigerate the shrimp until ready to use
- Slice the bacon into 1/2 inch pieces. Add the bacon and diced ham to a cold pan then turn the heat to medium and cook bacon and ham until crisp and the fat is rendered.
- Remove the bacon and from pan save it for later. You should have about 3 tablespoons (estimate the amount, I don't want you to burn yourself trying to measure hot fat) of fat rendered from the bacon if you don't have enough bacon fat add butter
- Cook the shrimp (in batches) for about 2 minutes per side in the bacon fat. Remove the shrimp and store in the refrigerator until ready to use.
- Add the onion and the white part of the scallion to the pan (save the green part for garnish) and saute for 3 minutes over medium heat, add garlic and cook for and additional 30 seconds
- Add the flour to the pan and cook the fat and flour (roux) over medium-low heat stirring frequently until light brown, about 3-4 minutes. Add Worcestershire sauce, rosemary sprig, lemon juice and shrimp stock (or chicken stock), simmer until thickened stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes.
- Remove the rosemary and add the shrimp. Cook for about 2 minutes, Add salt if needed
- Sprinkle the bacon , ham (if using) tomato and green part of scallions over your shrimp and grits and eat!