Friday, January 25, 2013

Last Friday Recipe - Shrimp and Grits

From the Lowcountry of South Carolina, Ellis Vidler brings you her Shrimp and Grits recipe.

Lowcountry Shrimp and Grits
About 4 servings

There are as many recipes for shrimp and grits as there are cooks in the South Carolina Lowcountry. This is mine, tweaked until I think it’s right. I don’t make this often, and I don’t skimp on calories when I do. Skip lunch if you have to, but enjoy it. This dish is a treat to savor.

The secret is in the grits. Plain grits cooked for a few minutes in water don’t do it. They must be cooked for roughly 30 minutes for quick grits (never use instant) or an hour for stone ground grits. Don’t let the grits set. Use low heat and stir frequently.

I’m a “some of this and a little of that” cook, but I tried to measure for this.

1/2 cup ground grits (not instant)
2 to 3 tablespoons butter
About 2 cups chicken stock
1 cup heavy cream, more if needed
Salt and pepper to taste

5 slices of bacon, cooked separately

1. Cook bacon and save drippings in a separate dish. Don’t wash the skillet—save it for the shrimp. Crumble the cooked bacon and divide into 2 piles, one larger than the other. Set aside for now.

2. Bring chicken stock to a boil in a saucepan and stir in the grits, a bit of bacon drippings, and butter.

3. Return to a boil, and reduce the heat to almost low, allowing the grits to simmer for about 10 minutes, until the grits are thick and have absorbed most of the liquid, stirring occasionally to prevent the grits from sticking.

4. Add about ½ cup of the milk or cream to the pot and turn down the heat, allowing the grits to simmer for another 10 minutes or so. Add salt and pepper to taste.

5. As the liquid evaporates or is absorbed, add more cream or milk, cooking the grits until they are the desired consistency, a total cooking time of 30 minutes to an hour. NOTE: Start the shrimp sauce about 15 minutes before the grits will be done. If you use quick grits, they will thicken a lot faster.

6. Near the end, stir in the smaller pile of bacon bits.

Serve grits hot with the shrimp.

Shrimp, peeled and de-veined
Bacon drippings from cooked bacon
1 tablespoon light olive or other light oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon or so of garlic, chopped
3 chopped spring onions (some people add chopped tomato for color)
1 tablespoon basil, chopped fine
A teaspoon or so of flour to thicken (optional)
1/2- to 3/4 cup heavy cream
Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

About 15 minutes before grits will be done

1. In the bacon skillet, pour off excess fat. Heat the oil and butter to medium-hot and then add the shrimp. Sprinkle lightly with salt. Cook for about one minute on each side or until just barely pink. Remove from skillet and set aside. Lower heat. NOTE: If the shrimp are already cooked, sear them in a hot skillet for several seconds—just enough to enhance the taste.

2. Add a little of the bacon drippings, garlic, and onions to the skillet, and cook until onions are transparent. Pour off some of the fat if there’s much. If you want thicker gravy, take skillet off the burner and stir in a little flour.

3. Add cream into the fat and pan scrapings. Use enough to make a good gravy for the shrimp. Reduce to a sauce consistency.

4. A couple of minutes before serving, return the shrimp and half the remaining bacon crumbles to the sauce. Add the basil. Cook for just a minute or two. Salt and pepper to taste and serve over hot grits. Sprinkle with the remaining bacon crumbles.

We serve it with a salad and vinaigrette dressing.
Hope you like it.

LA: Ellis, I can't wait to make this. In Colorado, it's not easy to find good grits, but the search is on. I'll order them if I can't find them. My husband and I love grits! And shrimp! And bacon! So what's not to love about this recipe? Nothing, bon appetite.

Ellis Vidler is the author of mystery suspense books with a touch of romance.

She maintains a blog, mostly about writing and writers, at


  1. Being a Yankee, I've never developed a taste for grits, but this sounds wonderful and definitely worth trying. After 30+ years, I may become a Southerner yet!

  2. OMG, does this sound great. Anything with cream, fat and pan scrapings is at the top of my book : )

    I think I'd starve all day to have this at night.

    Thanks Ellis and LA for sharing this delightful dish!

  3. Yum! Sounds delicious, Ellis. Shrimp and grits is one of my favs.

  4. Thanks, Ellis and Leslie Ann, for presenting us with this recipe. Grits combined with seafood sounds like a culinary thrill to me. I love Southern dishes, especially those indigenous to New Orleans, such as Jambalaya & crawfish etouffee. But I'll bet Lowcountry Shrimp & Grits will give those recipes a run for their money.

    Off to get something to eat...this post has got my stomach in a temper tantrum--LOL!


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  6. Can't believe I didn't get over here last week. Sigh. Lisa, I love New Orleans and Creole dishes too. Gumbo is one of my favorites. Hmmm. May have to make some.
    Maggie, being from the Georgia coast, you must have a good Shrimp and Grits recipe too. How do you do it?
    Audra, I'm with you--cream, fat, and pan scrapings have to make anything better.
    Polly, I doubt we'll convert you that far--my goodness, you even like sugar in corn bread! :-) But I'm sure you have some good Boston dishes I'd like.