Shrimp And Grits, Lowcountry Style

shrimp and grits

Shrimp and grits is comfort food at its best. Originating in the Lowcountry of South Carolina and Georgia, it’s now offered at restaurants all across the country. Try this combination of succulent shrimp, smoky andouille sausage and creamy cheese grits for a classic Southern inspired meal your family will love.

Southern shrimp and grits popularity has evolved since starting out as a humble breakfast dish in the Lowcountry of South Carolina and Georgia. The classic dish that originated along the coastal regions of the Southern U.S. grew in popularity after New York Times food writer and editor, Craig Claiborne, wrote an article about shrimp and grits he had while visiting Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

Today, this well known dish has spread nationwide and has earned its place as a Southern favorite along with traditional foods such as fried chicken, biscuits, cornbread, gumbo, and pecan pie. Shrimp and grits recipes can be found across the country and now chefs in fine dining establishments as well as home cooks are all creating their own special version. Some will prepare the dish with sausage as I have, others will add bacon or ham, some will use a tomato and butter sauce, some will top it with an egg if they are serving it as a breakfast or brunch item.

If  you fall in love with this Southern dish, you might also want to plan a trip sometime in the future to Charleston, South Carolina which is known for its culinary scene and excellent Southern fare…especially its shrimp and grits. As a foodie who loves good southern food, Charleston is one of the places I would love to visit again. The city is well known for its wonderfully fresh seafood and I’d definitely search out a meal of shrimp and grits. Two restaurants that I would put on my list would be return visits to Husk and Pearlz Oyster Bar.

shrimp and grits
Shrimp And Grits, Lowcountry Style

Lowcountry Shrimp, Andouille Sausage And Grits

Recipe serves 2 generously or 4 by adjusting the amount of shrimp and sausage

Pepper Cream Sauce (Optional but adds lots of flavor)

  • 2 Tbsp. Tabasco green pepper sauce
  • 2 Tbsp. white wine
  • 1 Tbsp. minced onion
  • 1 1/2 tsp. lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 tsp. rice wine vinegar
  • 1/4 c. cream

Grits

  • 2 c. water
  • 2 c. chicken stock (can substitute water)
  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 c. grits (you can use white or yellow)
  • 1/4 c. or more, shredded sharp white cheddar cheese

Shrimp and Andouille Sauce

  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/4 lb. smoked andouille sausage, cut into bitesize pieces
  • 1 bell pepper chopped (I used  a combination of red and yellow)
  • 1/4 c. chopped onion
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 12 large shrimp (depending of size), peeled and deveined
  • 12, more or less, cherry tomatoes or 2 – 3 plum tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/4 c. chicken stock
  • 1/2 tsp. Old Bay or Cajun spice seasoning
  • a pinch of cayenne, adjust to personal taste
  • salt and pepper
  • sliced scallions for garnish, optional

Combine hot pepper sauce, wine, minced onion, lemon juice and vinegar in a saucepan. Cook over medium heat until slightly reduced and thickened, about 5 minutes then add the cream. Stir, cook an additional minute then set aside until needed. May be made the day ahead and refrigerated.

Bring water, chicken stock, butter and salt to simmer in a medium saucepan. Gradually whisk in grits. Cook the grits at a simmer, according to package directions, until they are soft and thickened, stirring frequently. Add the cheese and mix well. If grits get too thick, thin with a little water.

Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add sausage, bell pepper, onion and garlic and sauté about about 8 minutes. Add shrimp, tomatoes, stock and seasonings and cook until shrimp are opaque and pink, about 4 to 6 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasonings if necessary, Reheat the pepper cream sauce, if using. Spoon grits into bowls, top with the shrimp mixture and drizzle a little pepper cream sauce over (if using), garnish with scallions and serve.

Tips:

  1. The pepper cream sauce can be made 1 day in advanced, covered and refrigerated.
  2. I used quick grits (not instant) which take about 5 minutes to cook. If you use regular grits or substitute polenta, cook according to package directions. Stoneground grits and polenta can take up to 30 minutes.
  3. No matter how low you cook the grits, they tend to bubble and splatter so I partially cover with a lid.
  4. You can replace the chicken stock in the sauce with shrimp stock you can make if you happened to have bought shrimp with their shells still on.
  5. You can replace the fresh tomatoes with canned diced tomatoes that have been drained.
  6. The smoked andouille sausage can be replaced with linguica or chorizo sausage.
  7. As with any spicy dish, adjust the recipe to your own taste for heat. Your favorite hot sauce can always be served on the side for those who want extra spiciness.

****

Regardless of the type of shrimp and grits you’ve eaten in the past, I hope you will give this version a try. I believe it is a good representation of true “Southern food”.

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I travel the back roads of the world, sharing great food and interesting places and enjoyable pastimes.

54 thoughts on “Shrimp And Grits, Lowcountry Style

  1. That sounds like my kind of dish. In spite of living in Georgia for a while, I’ve never tasted it. I will go in search of grits to rectify the situation. I’m sure your Lowcountry Shrimp, Andouille Sausage And Grits tastes amazing!

  2. Yum! One of my all time favorite ways to eat shrimp! There are many variations of this recipe and this one sounds delicious. Here’s a hint for those who have never cooked grits before: don’t forget to salt to the water before cooking the grits.

  3. This is one of my favorites. Your recipe is slightly different from mine so I’ll have to try it knowing that it will be great. BTW, I made your olive oil cake yesterday as my part of a dinner with friends and it was a huge hit!

  4. Years ago we vacationed in Charleston where I first experienced Shrimp and Grits. It was delicious as was all the dishes we tried there. I love your version, it looks so good!!

  5. Shrimp and grits are magic together. I’ve never added andouille to mine — great idea. And your pepper cream sauce looks terrific! Again, something I don’t normally add to my recipe, but it looks like it’s born to be there. Good stuff — thanks.

  6. That’s a gorgeous dish, Karen. We call ‘grits’ by Italian name of polenta here. I eat it quite a lot but always use the quick version, which an Italian might think cheating, but it works well and is delicious with butter and cheese as you’ve added.

  7. Oh Karen, this looks delish! And it’s one of my all-time faves. We used to live in Charleston, right on Queen St., so as you said, there are so many variations on a theme. My favorite was from Husk – they just seemed to hit the mark perfectly. Thanks for bringing back this very fond memory. ~Terri

  8. My first taste of shrimp and grits was when my sister-in-law (from a Southern family, though I am not sure where…) served it to us for Christmas brunch. I was hooked! Love the pepper cream you have – and the combination of the shrimp and sausage. Great recipe!

  9. I remember as a kid watching TV, and on American shows, people would be talking about eating grits. I had no idea why people would eat something gritty. In my mind, I had this notion people were eating something with the consistency of gravel.
    Your grits look delicious and nothing like gravel.

  10. A big thank you and a huge smile from Down Under, having just read dr Lum’s comment ! Yes, way back, I also wondered about ‘grits’ ! For us the name of the dish would be ‘Prawns with white corn porridge’ ! I am certain most of the US restaurants around Australia do serve a variant. But I do like your recipe very much . . . and since ‘grits’ is bound to be available in most food stores even if not as a supermarket staple, it shall go on the menu to be tried. The plate looks very appetizing indeed . . .

  11. i believe grits is a cornmeal, something like polenta? we can get white or yellow cornmeal here and of course we have fabulous prawns. looks like a tasty dish.

  12. I love make shrimp and grits but this is a new version that I will give a try! That pepper cream is just shouting out my name. Yours photos look amazing! My mouth is watering. Yum!

  13. I don’t really know what grits are, and it’s never struck me as an appealing description, Karen 🙂 🙂 Presumably something like rice or couscous? But, yes, I’d love to go to Charleston and try it.

  14. Funny enough, I’ve never had grits! I’ve now made a note that we must visit South Carolina when we can all travel again. Your recipe looks delicious. I will see if I can try it with polenta, like you’ve suggested (since there isn’t much chance of getting grits here!). 🙂

  15. Great grits for sure, Karen! I love the Lowcountry and have visited many times, good food, good atmosphere! And I’ve made grits many times and way and we esp love it with shrimp. And smoked andouille sausage with it is a bonus, you have a great version of the dish! Our local butcher shop carries some awesome andouille sausage and I will be adding it next time. Thanks for the recipe! Take care

  16. Hey Karen! You may remember that I actually grew up in Charleston, so it goes without saying that good Southern food is an absolute must for me. In fact, our house wasn’t too far away from that photo of St. Philip’s Church. I absolutely love Charleston, and I would do anything to live down in the historic district again – well, minus the heat and humidity. Haha! We went back to visit some years ago, and we also fell in love with Husk. We’ll have to put Pearls on the list for when we return – tentatively set for June 2021 if we’re allowed to travel then!

  17. Thanks for stopping by my blog!….I love shrimp and grits!!…it is a recipe that I recently discovered….I tried it in Mississippi and New Orleans, and definitely I will make it at home now that I have your recipe….I will wait for a very cold day!!…….Abrazotes, Marcela

  18. Thanks for stopping by my blog!….I love shrimp and grits!!…it is a recipe that I recently discovered….I tried it in Mississippi and New Orleans, and definitely I will make it at home now that I have your recipe….I will wait for a very cold day!!…….Abrazotes, Marcela

  19. During my days of working for pay, I visited Charleston often and always enjoyed the Lowcountry food. Anytime I saw shrimp and grits on a menu I’d order it. Growing up in Texas, we had grits all the time most often with eggs, so shrimp and grits was always a treat.
    Now, living in Sweden, there’s no grits to be found. So, I improvise and use polenta instead of grits with my shrimp. Your recipes are a bit different than mine (which is a good thing) so it will be made with plolenta…

  20. I love prawns/shrimp but never had grits. It’s something I’d love to try! Seafood with sausage goes so well and I love the combination of prawns or scallops with chorizo. The pictures look amazing!

  21. Rick and I are both wild about shrimp and grits and we have a good recipe. But it doesn’t have the andouille and this looks fabulous. I have a feeling we will be seeing this on our menu and soon! (We’ve served S&G at Thanksgiving and for Christmas dinner too. Our guests are a little confused but leave loving it!)

  22. Shrimp and grits are one of my all-time favorite foods, Karen! I have it every year for my birthday and it always feels like such a special treat. I’ve never had it in Charleston though so I’ll put that on my bucket list. Thanks so much for the recipe! Hugs, CoCo

  23. Yum. The first time I had shrimp and grits was in Charleston. I’m so glad I ordered them! I was a little suspicious about grits, even though I’d been making polenta for years! It’s so good to learn about food. Great post.

  24. Pure comfort food. Those grits look so smooth and soft, they could rival a silk pillow! I’ve been wanting to make grits for a while and now I can’t put it off any longer. I’m happy enough to eat just a plain bowlful, no shrimp needed.

  25. Hi Karen,
    It is a stormy day in Northwest Florida, so I am in the mood to light some candles, get cozy and get busy cooking some low country comfort food. This is a great recipe and I truly believe that I have all of these ingredients. I keep frozen shrimp on hand, and even though they aren’t as great as fresh, they work!
    Thank you for sharing the recipe and we love the kick of spicy food too.
    Great to catch up with you.
    Jemma

  26. My husband and I had planned to visit North Carolina with a couple of friends this month before COVID started. Needless to say, our plans were cancelled. I’m looking forward to enjoying fantastic Southern dishes like this when we finally go.

  27. I really love your tips; thank you! I have to confess that I’m not a grits fan, although I’ve only had them on rare occasions. However, your recipe is unlike the grits that I’ve had! It has a lot more interesting ingredients. I think the grits that I’ve had were quite basic in comparison. This definitely sounds more than worth a try!

  28. Hi Karen,
    Your post about Charleston and shrimp and grits is so timely for my husband and me. Normally every October for fall break we drive there for a long, lazy weekend of great food, culture, and walking leisurely around the city. Not this year though due to the virus. Hopefully in a year or two. I have to agree that Husk is just an amazing eatery that is so hard to get a reservation most of the time. Thankfully, it opened up in Greenville, SC and we go quite often. The food is so incredible and creative! And after 26 years of living in SC, I have not had the ability to enjoy shrimp and grits due to an adult onset allergy to shellfish. Can you tell me if it is possible to prepare the grits in a ‘close’ flavor outcome without the shrimp? Or is shrimp mandatory for a certain flavor?
    Thanks,
    Be safe,
    Roz

  29. I love shrimp and grits, had it for the first time when in Savannah. Love southern food. I had tried to make it at home, but it didnt come out well. Will use your tips and try to make it again. Thanks for sharing the recipe

  30. I love shrimp and grits, but I’ve never had it nor make it with andouille. That sounds absolutely awesome!! thanks for the inspiration. I’m making this soon.

  31. The first time I had grits was in 1996, when we were celebrating our tenth wedding anniversary in Atlanta! It was a dish during a brunch, I think I would have loved them with Shrimp but to be honest the brunch version didn’t impress me. If I’m not mistaken, it’s a coarser version of polenta, isn’t it?

  32. Oh BOY!! Shrimp and Grits have been on our list to make and post for years! And your recipe sounds amazing! I think you already know that I live in Charleston, SC and as a NY native, I love the Southern culture in every way. I will try your version, and as soon as I get a chance, I would love to post it and link it back to you!
    Thanks, Karen!!

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