We South Carolinians are very particular when it comes to our food. Whether it’s how we like our Barbecue (there’s only one way—mustard based!), what mayonnaise we use in our chicken salad (it starts with a “D”), or whether we prefer chicken pilau (PER-lo) or chicken bog, you can bet a true South Carolinian has a strong opinion about all of the above.
Shrimp and grits is a longtime South Carolina staple, especially for us Lowcountry folks. I have tried many variations, and over time I have become very particular about how I like mine. I have been disappointed by so many restaurant versions that I choose to simply make them at home. Many eating establishments use sausage which in my opinion takes away from the flavor of the delicious shrimp—I prefer to use bacon. There are a few restaurants that do it this way as well.
Some more hip establishments try and put a modern spin on the dish by adding extra ingredients and such. I wish they wouldn’t. Shrimp and grits is a simple yet perfect dish that should not be tampered with in this Lowcountry girl’s opinion.
I recently made shrimp and grits for my husband’s birthday, and several of my friends have asked for the recipe. I don’t really have a detailed recipe as it’s something I make occasionally by trial and error, but I did my best to compile a recipe with directions. There’s no need to keep it all to myself, so I am happy to share with anyone interested in trying their hand at this delicious South Carolina dish!
1-3 lbs. of peeled shrimp (domestic and preferably from McClellanville, SC!)
Bacon (5-6 slices)
Diced green pepper
1-can diced tomatoes
Old Bay Seasoning (to suit your taste)
Chicken stock (¼ – ¾ cup)
Heavy cream (¼ – ¾ cup)
Hot sauce (Tabasco-about 2 drops)
Scallions for garnish
Grits (cook separately according to package directions and how many you wish to serve—stone ground yellow grits are best for this dish)
Cook bacon off first. Remove from pan and set aside when finished. Add garlic to bacon grease along with onions and green peppers (I sometimes add a little butter, too). When they are cooked to your liking, add diced tomatoes, Old Bay and chicken stock. At this time, you may also chop up your cooked bacon and add it to the mix. In the meantime, you should be cooking your grits (don’t forget a little extra butter in the grits!). When the grits are about ready, add shrimp to sauce mixture and cook until they turn pink. Once your shrimp are cooked, stir the heavy cream into the shrimp mixture.
Put your grits in a bowl or on a plate, pour shrimp sauce on top and enjoy! It may sound complicated, but it’s actually quick and easy!
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