Hello to you from the backyard, where today we are cooking up some delicious shrimp & grits with a cowboy twist.
Let’s talk about Carolina grits. There’s white corn and yellow corn to choose from. My preference is white grits. I add salt to the water and measure one part grits to three parts water. Whisk well and add some half and half. Cover and set aside for later. While those get to setting up we can move on to the shrimp.
TIP: After cooking the grits, let them set while you prepare the rest of the ingredients. As the grits set, they will set up more. You want them pretty thick and not runny.
Marinate the Shrimp
I used beautiful peeled and deveined uncooked shrimp, in a marinade of fresh lemon juice and finely chopped dried ancho chile.
TIP: When juicing a lemon, roll the lemon around on a flat surface before slicing open. The lemon will give more juice this way.
Dice & Simmer the Vegetables
Let’s talk about the Cajun trinity for a second. The Cajun trinity is a simple mix of onion, celery and o bell pepper. It is the base for a lot of delicious Cajun recipes like gumbo and jambalaya.
For shrimp and grits, I start with the Cajun trinity and add two more colors of bell pepper: orange and red. Sizzle those in the skillet until tender and translucent. That is where we add the green chile and garlic. The green chile is my way of adding some cowboy flavor to a traditional southern recipe and it is oh-so-good.
I like to mix all of the shrimp including the leftover marinade right into the pan with the vegetables. While these flavors mix and cook up all together, it is time to make a roux.
How to Make a Simple Roux
TIP: A roux is a thickening agent used for making gravy or any thick sauce.
This roux is simple. Melt some butter and whisk an equal amount of flour in. This might like to burn so if you are using fire, just remove it from the heat and whisk until the roux visibly darkens a little bit. That is how you know it’s ready.
Simmer the Shrimp & Vegetables
Mix that roux into the shrimp and vegetables with some chicken broth and simmer while all the flavors incorporate. We are adding some Lea & Perrins “W” sauce – “use it like you love it” – and sit back and enjoy that beautiful simmer and the incredible scent. Mix the bacon in and simmer until you are ready to eat this delicious skillet full of flavor.
Serve with Cheesy Grits
While the shrimp is simmering, shred some cheddar cheese over the grits and mix it so that we have thick, cheesy grits.
To serve, pile some grits on a plate and cover with the shrimp and enjoy. This has so much flavor that you and everyone you feed will be talking about it for months, y’all.
The entire recipe is listed below. Don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube Channel and we will see you down the Shrimp & Cheesy Grits trail.
Shrimp and Cheesy Grits – Cowboy Kent Rollins
- 3 cups water
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 cup coarse ground white grits not instant
- 2 cups half and half
- 2 lbs uncooked shrimp peeled and deveined
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1 dried ancho chile crushed or ½ tablespoon ancho chile powder
- 8 slices thick-cut bacon
- ½ cup chopped celery
- 1 red bell pepper chopped
- 1 yellow bell pepper chopped
- 1 white onion chopped
- 1 4 ounce can diced green chilies
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 4 tablespoons butter
- ¼ to ⅓ cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 to 1 ½ cups shredded cheddar or sharp cheddar cheese
- In a large saucepan, bring the water and salt to a boil. Whisk in the grits and half and half. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cover. Continue cooking about 15 to 20 minutes or until the grits have thickened and are tender, stirring occasionally. Set aside and keep warm. As the grits set, they will thicken up more. Be sure the grits aren’t too runny before serving.
- Add the shrimp to a small bowl and toss in the lemon juice and ancho chile until coated. Set aside and let marinate until ready to use.
- Cook the bacon in a large cast iron skillet until done. Remove from the skillet and drain on a paper towel. Reserve the bacon grease. When cooled, chop the bacon and set aside.
To the skillet with the bacon grease, stir in the celery, bell peppers, onion. Cook for about 8 minutes or until the onion is tender and translucent, stirring occasionally.
- Stir in the green chiles, garlic and shrimp. Turn off the heat and set aside.
- Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in the flour, and continue stirring to create a smooth roux. Turn the heat to low and cook, stirring constantly, for about 8 to 10 minutes, or until the mixture is a golden brown color and nearly as thick as a paste. Add more flour, if needed, to achieve the desired consistency. Watch carefully as the mixture can burn easily.
- Place the skillet with the shrimp over medium heat and stir in the roux. Stir in the chicken broth, Worcestershire sauce and bacon. Cook until the sauce thickens up and shrimp turns opaque white with some pink, about 8 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Meanwhile, stir the cheese into the grits until melted. Spoon the grits onto a plate and top with the shrimp mixture. Serve immediately.