I have had a craving for Shrimp & Grits for weeks but there are just some dishes that intimidate me and this was one of them. From getting the perfect texture of grits to having that amazing punch of flavor in the shrimp and sauce, shrimp & grits had been on my list of recipes that I decided to never make. But not anymore. It might have been beginner’s luck or sheer determination. Either way, I nailed it and got two thumbs up from the hubby. The secret was cooking the grits low and slow. I used Luquire Family Food’s Stone Ground Grits which cooked to creamy perfection and served as the perfect base for the shrimp and sauce. I choose @pioneer_1851’s Cajun Shrimp & Rice seasoning mix which packed loads of delicious Louisiana flavor.
So don’t be afraid to try recipes on your “not gonna happen list” because you don’t know how delicious it will be until you try.
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Let’s Talk Shrimp
Shrimp are not all created equal. The choices can be confusing and overwhelming. There is fresh or frozen, head-on or head-off, with shell or without, cocktail or jumbo, white or pink.
- Fresh vs Frozen – Don’t be fooled into thinking that you are getting shrimp that just arrived off the fishmonger’s boat. The vast majority of shrimp is frozen at sea before being delivered to the distributor or retailer. So when you see the display that says “fresh”…it more than likely isn’t. Frozen is typically the best way to go.
- Shell – You typically have three options -shell on, easy-peel, or pre-peeled. While pre-peeled shrimp is the easiest to prep, you will probably end up with shrimp that are mangled and usually overpriced. Easy-peel shrimp have been split and deveined but will be a little more expensive. Just like pre-peeled shrimp, easy-peel might not make the best presentation. My go-to is shell-on shrimp. They are a little more work but completely worth it. Plus they are the least expensive option which is always a win for me. Don’t toss the shells…instead, use them to make a flavorful stock or to add some additional flavor to your dish.
- Brown, White, or Pink – Here in south-central Texas brown shrimp are plentiful but they are not the most flavorful of shrimp. Typically imported from Latin America, Thailand, and China, white shrimp are sweeter. My personal preference is pink shrimp which is what I used for this recipe. They are the sweetest and have less of an ammonia or mineral taste.
A lot of it comes down to personal preference and taste but some shrimp do better in certain dishes than others.
Let’s Get Cooking
Are you ready for some shrimp and grits? Bring a timer and rest your stirring arm. This recipe does require some love and care but it is so worth it.
Pro-tip: Don’t rush the grits. I can’t say this enough…cook your grits low and slow.
Southern Style Cajun Shrimp & Grits
- 1 cup grits
- 2 ½ cups water
- 1 ½ cups half & half
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 stick unsalted butter
- 2 sliced green bell peppers
- 1 sliced onion
- ½ cup chopped celery
- 1 can crushed tomatoes (15 oz)
- 1 ¾ cup water
- 1 pkg Pioneer Cajun Shrimp & Rice Meal Sauce and Seasoning Mix
- 1 lb peel and deveined shrimp
- Mix all ingredients in a saucepan.
- Bring to a boil over medium heat.
- Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes; cook longer for extra creamy grits.
- Stir often.
- If necessary, add water or milk to thin.
- Melt butter in a heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat.
- Add peppers, onions, and celery, stirring occasionally until softened.
- Add crushed tomatoes, water, and seasoning mix; mix well.
- Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for about 5 minutes, until sauce thickens slightly.
- Stir in shrimp, and cook until pink.
- Serve immediately over grits.
Did you make this recipe?
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