Shrimp and Grits: The Lowcountry staple has been around for more than 100 years and you can hardly visit a restaurant these days without seeing it on the menu. In 2011, Shrimp & Grits was the most popular dish served at weddings across the United States.
The cookbook, Mastering the Art of Southern Cooking by Nathalie Dupree and Cynthia Graubart, says the first printed copy of the original recipe, titled “Shrimp and Hominy,” was located in the 1930 edition of Two Hundred Years of Charleston Cooking. Many variations of the recipe exist today, but one thing is certain: a recipe is only as good as the quality of ingredients.
We’re especially blessed in Statesboro and Savannah to live near the coast where wild Georgia shrimp is easy to come by and Georgia farmers are aplenty, producing those healthful vegetables like sweet red bell pepper and jalapenos that accompany the special sauce in my shrimp and grits recipe. Statesboro is even home to Freeman’s Mill–stone grinding grits and corn meal daily. Here’s a tip: When cooking grits, always take the opportunity to layer in depth of flavor. Instead of using water, try milk or broth. I love the creamy texture milk gives grits and the flavor of them when they’re cooked in chicken or beef broth. That special touch takes the dish from mediocre to restaurant quality faster than you can say “Go Eagles.”
Whenever possible, shop local. Nothing beats sitting down to a meal grown on Georgia ground, planted by the hands of people in our own community and supporting the local farmers. One visit to the Statesboro Main Street Farmers’ Market or the Forsyth Farmers’ Market and you’ll be well on your way to cooking my Shrimp & Grits with a White Wine Sauce featuring Hunter Cattle Company’s hardwood smoked bacon and Prosser’s Wholesale Shrimp in Brooklet.
Did you know? This recipe earned me my first national TV appearance, as a Season 2 contestant on ABC’s The Taste. Watch me cook this dish live on Facebook, and be sure to connect with me on social media.
Shrimp & Grits with a White Wine Sauce
Serves 2 – 3
- 1 pound of Wild Georgia Shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 1/2 Cup Jim Dandy Quick Cooking Grits (Not instant)
- 2 Cups Chicken Broth
- 1/2 cup of freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 4 Slices Thick cut, Hickory Smoked Bacon
- 1 Large Shallot, thinly sliced
- 1 Large clove of Garlic, minced
- 1 Medium Red Bell Pepper, diced
- 1 Jalapeno Pepper, minced
- 2 celery stalks, sliced
- 1/4 Cup white wine
- 1 cup whole milk or heavy cream
- 3 Tablespoons Butter
- Salt & Pepper
- Old Bay Seasoning
- Green onion, for garnish
Cook grits according to package directions, using chicken broth in place of water. Season with salt and pepper, then add butter and stir in Parmesan cheese. Meanwhile, cook bacon until crisp. Drain on paper towels and set aside. In the bacon fat, sauté the shallot, bell pepper, jalapeno and celery. Cook for 3 – 5 minutes, until vegetables become fragrant and translucent. Add garlic and stir for about 30 seconds. Once vegetables have married together, add the white wine and bring to a boil. Let cook for 2-3 minutes, reducing the liquid slightly. Stir in milk and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 5 minutes to let the sauce thicken. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Season shrimp with Old Bay. Add shrimp to sauce and stir. Increase heat to medium, and cook shrimp until they turn pink, about 3 – 4 minutes. Remove from heat. Be careful not to overcook the shrimp.
To plate, heap grits onto a plate and top with shrimp and sauce mixture. Garnish with crumbled bacon and green onion. Enjoy!
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Georgia native Rebekah Faulk Lingenfelser is a freelance writer, entertainer and food enthusiast who writes and speaks about her love of good food and the Coastal South. A Food Network Star finalist, Rebekah is the longtime Statesboro Herald food columnist and host of SKG-TV on YouTube. She graduated from Georgia Southern University, and also attended Savannah Technical College’s Culinary Institute of Savannah. To learn more, connect with Some Kinda Good on social media, or visit RebekahLingenfelser.com.