Shrimp and Grits are a southern speciality. You will see them on the menu at most fine restaurants and it is amazing at how different they are prepared. This is by far one of the best shrimp and grit recipes I have tasted and you can easily make them at home.
These Charleston grits have more flavor because they are cooked in chicken stock and seasoned with sugar and sea salt. In the winter the corn is not as sweet so you need to add more sugar in the winter than in the summer months. Make sure you buy organic stone ground grits since so much of the corn is being genetically modified. Or, you can look for the symbol NON GMO on the label of your grits.
The chef and owner of Rosebud, Ron Eyester created this recipe and gave us many tips on the best way to make them and when is the best time to serve them. He recommended cooking in a large pot with more surface area. You will be stirring them a lot to ensure you do not scorch them. Nothing smells worse than burnt grits.
Grits taste better the next day and last in the refrigerator for about a week. If you love grits for breakfast, make a large batch. You can also freeze them and then thaw in the frig overnight. To warm them up, pour the grits in a saucepan and heat them up over medium heat. Add half and half to break the grits up and add flavor. Season with a little fleur de sel sea salt and sugar if needed.
If you are having a dinner party or making a large batch to freeze, cook the grits and sauce ahead of time but do not add the shrimp to your sauce. Cook the shrimp in the sauce right before you serve the shrimp and grits. I highly recommend buying wild shrimp and not farm raised from China or Thailand. Those freeze and thaw so many times traveling across the world and it effects the texture of the shrimp. If you are on the West coast splurge on Spot Prawns.
1) For Charleston grits use chicken stock instead of water. 2 to 1 ratio wet to dry ingredients.
2) In a large saucepan, bring the 1 1/2 cups of half and half and 2 cups of chicken stock, preferably homemade, to a boil. Then whisk in the organic corn grits. Reduce heat. Cook over low heat stirring most of the time for about 20 to 30 minutes. This is why you want to make a large batch! Add more half and half and stock if the grits are too thick. They will be soft and creamy when done.
3) When the grits are creamy and soft, season with granulated garlic not fresh, granulated cane or coconut sugar, pepper, and a high quality salt like Himalayan or French Grey. Season to taste.
4) Turn the heat off and add 1 or 2 tablespoons of butter. Butter will separate when the heat is on and leave a layer of grease on the grits. Stir in the butter and taste to see if you need more sugar.
Shrimp and Andouille Sauce Sauce
1) Add 2 tablespoons butter to a wide, shallow pan on medium heat and melt to coat the bottom of the pan. Add the sweet onions. Cook for about 5 minutes on medium to soften the onions then reduce the heat and let the onions cook. Stir occasionally. The onions will turn a soft, light brown. (5 onions takes about 45 minutes. This recipe calls for 2 onions but make more. You can add caramelized onions to sandwiches, pasta, steak, etc…)
2) When the onions are caramelized, turn the heat to medium-high. Add 1 tablespoon freshly chopped garlic to the onions and cook the garlic until fragrant. About 1 minute. Remove the onions or push them to the side of the pan and cook the andouille sausage. Cook for about 5-7 minutes. Brown all sides of the sausage.
3) Add the onions to the pan. Pour in the can of tomatoes and chicken stock and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer to thicken for about 10 minutes. Now add the shrimp and cook until they begin to curl. It usually only takes about 4 minutes for the shrimp.
4) Turn heat off then add COLD butter to shrimp. The butter rounds out the sauce and melts as you stir.
5) Add fresh Italian parsley or herbs, Fleur de Sel salt, and pepper to taste.
6) Serve warm with the grits on the bottom and several shrimp on top. Enjoy!
Note: These photos were taken on my iPhone at the cooking demonstration given by Ron Eyester for the Junior League Tour of Homes.