Shrimp and Grits - Low Country style

From My Carolina Kitchen

1 pound unpeeled, medium-size fresh shrimp

2 tablespoons lemon juice

¼ teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper

4 strips of bacon

1/4 cup canola or other neutral oil

6 ounces sliced mushrooms, about 3 cups

1 garlic clove, finely minced

¼ cup chopped onion

¼ cup finely chopped red bell pepper

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

¾ cup shrimp stock or chicken broth

Stovetop Grits

1 cup quick grits, not instant

1 ½ cups water

1 ½ cups milk

1/4 teaspoon salt

6 ounces sharp Cheddar cheese, finely grated

Freshly ground nutmeg

4 drops hot sauce, such as Tabasco

Green tops of scallions thinly cut on diagonal


Peel & devein shrimp, saving peels. Combine shrimp, lemon juice, salt, and red pepper in a small bowl; set aside. To make the shrimp stock (which is really better than chicken broth), boil the shells in lightly salted water for a few minutes and strain; discard shells and retain broth.

Place the bacon in a 10” non-stick skillet and cook over medium heat until it browns. Remove bacon from skillet, leaving 3 tablespoons drippings in the skillet, Crumble bacon when cool and set aside.

In a separate 10” non-stick skillet, pour in canola oil and heat over medium heat. Add the mushrooms to the hot oil and cook, tossing and stirring, until the mushrooms give up their liquid. Salt and pepper to taste, add the garlic and cook briefly, stirring. Turn off heat and set aside.

Cook onion and red pepper in bacon drippings in skillet over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, about 10 minutes. Sprinkle flour over vegetables; cook, stirring constantly, about 2 minutes or until flour begins to brown. Add shrimp & shrimp stock; cook, stirring constantly, 2 to 3 minutes or until shrimp turns pink and gravy is smooth. Add water or additional stock if gravy is too thick.

Combine the shrimp, mushroom mixture, and crumbled bacon in one skillet and sprinkle with parsley. Stir to blend.

For cheese grits, bring the water and the milk to a boil, add salt and gradually stir in the grits. Cook according to package directions. When thickened, remove from heat, stir in cheese, a dash of nutmeg, and 4 drops hot sauce.

To serve, place grits in individual bowls, top with shrimp mixture in the center, and sprinkle thinly sliced green scallion tops around the edges of the bowl. Serves 4.

Adapted from Southern Cooking by Craig Claibourne