Hi, how’re y’all doing today? I am doing just fine because I am sharing my authentic southern shrimp and grits recipe today. Yes, I know, I am Hispanic, what do I know about authentic shrimp and grits? Well, I do know a thing or two. And, since I can’t head south for the real thing just yet, I’ll just pretend and whet my appetite for some of the best and easy to make Low Country food.
Low Country food is food that originated in the coastal regions of the Carolinas’ and Georgia. Some of the most popular ingredients in Low country cuisine are fish, shrimp, oysters, veggies, and rice.
I can’t honestly say that I have always liked authentic southern shrimp and grits. As a matter of fact I just started warming up to this southern specialty about two years ago when my family and I traveled to Myrtle Beach to visit my mother in law who winters there. This dish is typical in those parts and just about every single restaurant around serves it, each adding its own twist.
This time around I decided to try it. Part of being a food blogger is trying new things, or even giving certain foods a second chance. So, on one of our outings I gave authentic southern shrimp and grits another try. Guess what? I liked it A LOT! I don’t know what my problem was before.
I ordered this dish at a great restaurant that faces the water. The ambiance is incredible. So, I sat there watching the ocean roll in and out, savoring my authentic southern shrimp and grits. By the way, that is what everyone else at my table ordered too.
Authentic Southern shrimp and grits has all the qualities I look for in food: it’s rich, but delicate; it’s creamy, there’s shrimp in it. IT’S SCRUMPTIOUS!
So where do grits come from?
My research says that from Muskogee tribe’s way of preparing Indian corn by grinding it down to a texture that was “gritty”. Indian corn is similar to hominy which in turn was at one time used as currency. Grits was an integral part of the diet of the Gullah, the descendants of West African slaves. Although shrimp and grits was considered slightly upscale, the Gullah would often catch shrimp to supplement their basic diet.
Authentic southern shrimp and grits is an integral part of southern cuisine. Jekyll Island, Georgia celebrates the Shrimp and Grits Festival every September. I can’t wait to make this trip a part of my ongoing culinary experience.
Here is how to make shrimp and grits with easy to follow step by step photos:
- Bring the milk and vegetable broth to boil, reduce the heat then slowly add the grits 1/4 cup at a time. Stir frequently to avoid clumping.
- Add the butter, stir in until well combined and cook on low for about 20 minutes. Start the shrimp while the grits cook.
- After 20 minutes, gradually add the cheese to the grits and stir in to combine.
- The grits will be a nice smooth texture when done.
- In a skillet on medium heat cook the bacon and once it turns brown add the onions and garlic. Continue cooking until the onions are translucent.
- Add the shrimp to the skillet and the spice blend: salt, cayenne and cinnamon. Flip the shrimp to cook evenly until they turn pink.
- Once the shrimp are pink add the tomatoes and vegetable broth.
- Cook for another 2-3 minutes simmering. The grits should be just about done and ready to stir in the cheese. (See step 3 above.) Timing is important since you want the grits just finished and creamy as soon as the shrimp are ready. Portion the grits in to 6 bowls, top with the shrimp and sauce. Enjoy!
Let me know how you like this dish, or if you’ve ever tried it. I would love to hear from you.
If you are a shrimp lover then I have a couple more fabulous shrimp dishes for you to try: Spanish style shrimp tapas is a dish that is easy and comes together very quickly. If you have a little more time then Latin style shrimp ceviche is a crowd pleaser for parties as an appetizer.
Authentic Southern Shrimp and Grits
When you visit the Southern USA you have a try a bowl of this spicy dish! Some of the best comfort food comes from the American South and shrimp and grits ranks near the top! Shrimp and grits is true Low Country cuisine from coastal Carolina and Georgia. Imagine a spicy saucy shrimp with some creamy corn grits with cheese for a nice balance of flavor. This is a must try recipe and feel free to get creative. The grits are a blank canvas so add something spicy. Like cajun flavors? Add some spicy cajun style shrimp.
Bring milk and vegetable broth to a boil, and slowly add the grits 1/4 cup at a time. Stir frequently to avoid clumping.
Mix in the butter, and cook on low for about 20 minutes. (Now would be a good time to start the shrimp while to grits cook.)
After the grits have cooked for 20 minutes, toss in the cheese and stir to blend.
- In a small dish blend together salt, cayenne, and cinnamon.
- Begin cooking bacon in a non-stick skillet.
- Once the bacon begins to turn brown, add in the onion, and garlic and continue to cook until onion is translucent.
Toss in the shrimp, and cook until the shrimp starts to turn pink on both sides. Sprinkle with spice mixture while cooking.
- Add in the tomatoes, and the vegetable broth.
- Cook for 2-3 minutes.
Divide grits equally into 6 bowls, and top with shrimp.
Timing is key to this dish. Be sure to start the shrimp while the grits are simmering. When the grits are done, portion it out and top with the shrimp and sauce.