There’s nothing quite as comforting as southern cooking. Just the words conjure up pleasant images of grandmas in their kitchens slow cooking Sunday dinners for large families. It’s hearty comfort food that just means home. This low country shrimp and grits recipe embodies that sentiment. The shrimp and sausage gravy is flavorful, but not spicy. And the grits are slow cooked to perfection. It’s a flavor combination made in heaven!
HERE’S HOW I MADE IT
This dish comes together around the same time and while it’s not difficult to make, it best if you have all the ingredients chopped, prepped and ready to go before you.
MAKING THE GRITS
In a stock pot, bring the chicken stock and water to a boil. Add grits and whisk vigorously to ensure that the grits do not clump up. Add half-and-half and continue whisking until grits begin to thicken. Simmer over low heat until grits have thickened and are tender, whisking occasionally (about 15 to 20 minutes). Turn heat off and cover with lid to keep warm. You’ll finish the grits after you make the shrimp and sausage gravy.
MAKING THE SHRIMP AND SAUSAGE GRAVY
Seasoning two pounds of uncooked shrimp (peeled, deveined and tails removed) with Old Bay Seasoning and paprika. Add lemon juice and toss to ensure the shrimp is evenly coated and set aside. Cook bacon in a wide, heavy bottom large skillet over medium to high heat until evenly browned and fat has rendered – about 10 minutes. Remove bacon and drain on a paper towel. Brown the sausage slices in the bacon drippings. Remove the sausage and set aside. Add the peppers, onion and garlic. Cook for about 8 minutes or until onion is translucent. Transfer the vegetables to a food processor and pulse until they are finely minced. Finely mincing the vegetables in the food processor is optional. If you don’t mind the dices vegetables or don’t have a food processor, you can skip this step.
Note: Only the bacon rendered fat is use in the dish, not the bacon. Bacon fat or lard will impart great flavor. If you don’t wish to use bacon fat or lard, use a good olive oil.
In a separate skillet, coat the bottom of the skillet with a little olive oil and sear the shrimp over medium to high heat on each side to develop some color around the edges. Don’t overcrowd the shrimp, sear them in batches. Set them aside with the sliced sausage. Note: You are not cooking the shrimp all the way through – the middle should be raw. The shrimp will finish cooking in the sauce when you add it back in.
In the same skillet, melt the butter over medium heat to make a roux. Stir in the flour and mix with the butter until you’ve made a paste-like mixture, called a roux. Reduce the heat to low and continue stirring until the roux becomes medium brown. Don’t walk away as the roux might burn. Meanwhile in a separate sauce pot, warm up the chicken stock. When the roux is ready, slowly add the chicken broth while whisking to ensure a smooth sauce. Then add the Worcestershire sauce, vegetables and black pepper to taste. Add shrimp and sausage and stir to combine and coat the shrimp. Simmer over low-medium heat until the sauce thickens. Garnish with parsley and or scallions (optional).
Note: Whenever you’re making a gravy or a roux based sauce, it’s always best to whisk in hot liquid to the roux to ensure a smooth gravy. If you add cold liquid, it could clump up and spell disaster.
Add the cheese to the warm grits along with a little cracked black pepper and whisk together to combine. Once the cheese has melted into the grits you’re ready to serve. Garnish with parsley and or scallions, as desired.
Plated with Roasted Brussels Spouts. What a delicious meal! Adapted from AllRecipes.com.
Low Country Shirmp & Grits
A delicious and savory low country regional favorite filled with tender shrimp and sausage over creamy and cheesy grits.
- 1 cup course ground grits
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 1 cup water
- 2 cups half-and-half or whole milk
- 1 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
SHRIMP & SAUSAGE GRAVY
- 2 lbs. shrimp, peeled & deveined (tails removed)
- 1 Tablespoon Old Bay Seasoning
- ⅛ teaspoon paprika
- 1 lemon, juiced
- 1 lb. beef kielbasa, cut into 1/4 inch slices on the bias or Andouille sausage
- 6 bacon slices (used to render the fat) can substitute with lard or olive oil
- 1 green bell pepper, diced
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 1 yellow bell pepper, diced
- 1 large onion, diced
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- ¼ cup butter, unsalted
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- fresh ground black pepper to taste
- Garnish: minced parsley or diced scallions
MAKING THE GRITS
Bring chicken stock and water to a boil in a large saucepan. Add the grits and whisk vigorously to avoid clumping. Reduce heat to low-medium and add the half-and-half or milk. Whisk occasionally and simmer until grits have thickened and are cooked. About 15-20 minutes. Set aside and cover to keep warm.
SHRIMP & SAUSAGE GRAVY
Sprinkle shrimp with Old Bay seasoning, paprika and lemon juice. Set aside. In a large heavy-bottom skillet over medium-high heat, cook the bacon until the fat has rendered. Remove bacon with a slotted spoon and drain on a paper towel. Sauté the Kielbasa sausage slices in the bacon drippings until golden brown. Remove and set aside.
Note: Bacon is only used to render the fat and not added back into the dish. You can reserve the bacon as a garnish for another side or substitute with lard or good olive oil.
In the same skillet, sauté the green, red and yellow bell peppers with the onions and garlic over medium heat until the onion is translucent. Transfer vegetables to a food processor, pulse a few times (optional step) and set aside.
Coat the skillet with a olive oil and sauté the shrimp in batches over medium to high heat. Once the shrimp has been sautéd, set them aside with the sausage slices.
Melt the butter in the same skillet and stir in the flour to make a roux. Whisk the flour until it has formed a paste with the butter and cook it until it's a medium brown color, about 8 minutes.
In a separate sauce pot, warm the chicken stock. When the roux is ready, whisk in the chicken stock with the roux, then add the Worcestershire sauce, vegetables and black pepper. Stir well then add the shrimp and sausage. Stir to coat and simmer for a few minutes.
While the shrimp & sausage gravy simmer, add the cheese to the grits and whisk together until the cheese has melted and the grits are creamy.
Serve immediately. Garnish with parsley and or diced scallions, as desired.