Shrimp and Grits

White bowl with shrimp and vegetables topping a layer of grits

This recipe is from Good and Cheap.

Good and Cheap cover 2nd edition

Good and Cheap is a gorgeous cookbook for people with limited income, particularly on a $4/day food stamps budget. The PDF is free (ahora en Español!) and has been downloaded more than 1,000,000 times. I have more cookbooks, too!

The cost of shrimp really varies, so save this one until you can find a deal—under about $8 per pound. I ended up having to remove this from the 2nd edition of Good and Cheap because the price variation was so extreme and I didn’t want to steer anyone wrong. But it’s a classic from a time when shrimp was the food of the poorer masses and the rich people had no idea what they were missing.

I didn’t grow up with grits myself, but somehow fell in love with them anyway. I have had many disappointing versions of this dish in NYC restaurants and after a particularly frustrating experience (like 2 tiny shrimp on a bed of undercooked and under-seasoned, practically gummy grits—a travesty) I decided to make it myself. Luckily, like so many of the great dishes, it is remarkably easy to make at home!

This is far from an authentic Southern version of this dish, but it is absolutely delicious. Southerners will demand you use white stone-ground corn for this to be true grits, and I won’t quibble, but feel free to use yellow if it doesn’t offend you.


White bowl with shrimp and vegetables topping a layer of grits
Shrimp and Grits
Print Recipe
Cheesy creamy grits topped with a lightly spiced mixture of vegetables and shrimp.
Servings
4
Servings
4
White bowl with shrimp and vegetables topping a layer of grits
Shrimp and Grits
Print Recipe
Cheesy creamy grits topped with a lightly spiced mixture of vegetables and shrimp.
Servings
4
Servings
4
Ingredients
Grits
  • 1 cup grits
  • 4 1/2 cups vegetable or chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup sharp cheddar grated
  • 3 scallions finely chopped
Topping
  • 1 lb shrimp peeled and deveined
  • 1 Tbsp butter or vegetable oil
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 1 bell pepper chopped
  • 2 sticks celery chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic finely chopped
  • 1 green chile finely diced (optional)
  • 1 tomato chopped
Instructions
  1. Bring the stock to a boil in a medium-sized pot, then turn the heat down to low and slowly pour in the cornmeal while stirring briskly with a wooden spoon. Stirring while pouring is crucial to keep the grits creamy and smooth—no lumps! Once the grits become smooth and thick, place a lid on the pot with the spoon still in it so that steam can escape.
  2. Let the grits cook while you prepare the rest of the meal, checking in occasionally to give them a stir. The total cooking time should be about 25 to 30 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, prepare the shrimp and vegetables. Add the butter or oil to a large pan on medium heat and let it get hot. Add the onion, pepper, and celery. Sauté until the onion is just translucent, about 2 minutes. Add the garlic, as well as the green chile if you like things spicy. Let everything cook for another minute. Add the tomato and cook for 3 or 4 minutes, until the tomato releases its juice and the vegetables resemble a thick and chunky sauce.
  4. Add a dribble of water to keep everything loose and saucy, then toss in the shrimp. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the shrimp are pink all over. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Once the grits are ready, take them off the heat and add the cheese and most of the scallions, then stir. Ladle the grits into bowls and top with the shrimp, vegetables, and a few more scallions.

1 Comment

  • Come on don’t use cornmeal and call it grits. You should be able to get true grits at the same counter you get grits. There is some difference in taste, so use as the recipe states “Shrimp and GRITS.” I live in Rhode Island and can get grits at the market. To hell with saving a little money. If you want shrimp and grits buy it as any price. Just give up smoking, that steak dinner, your favorite drink or just don’t go to the weekly movie to save a little extra money to buy shrimp. I am a home cook by the way of Florida and have eaten GRITS all my life. I BET YOU WON’T PRINT OR REPLY TO MY MESSAGE.

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Leanne Brown

Hi! I'm Leanne Brown, a home cook in Brooklyn by way of Canada. I write cookbooks, like the one below!

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Good and Cheap cover 2nd edition

Good and Cheap is a gorgeous cookbook for people with limited income, particularly on a $4/day food stamps budget. The PDF is free (ahora en Español!) and has been downloaded over 1,000,000 times. I have more cookbooks!

Sign up for my newsletter!