Lori's Shrimp & Grits

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"One of my favorite things about the South is the food - and Shrimp & Grits probably comes close to the top of the list! But grits take a longer time to cook, and for a quick meal, I often substitute polenta for the grits. So this is my adaptation of a number of different recipes, including directions for using grits OR polenta. It's probably more Louisiana style than Low Country."

Original recipe yields 4 servings
  • NOTE: I often use polenta instead of grits. It cooks much faster, and while it doesn't have quite the same taste or texture, it still makes a really great dish! All the ingredient amounts stay the same, just substitute polenta for the grits.
  • Optional: minced parsley or scallions to garnish


  • Serving Size: 1 (625.2 g)
  • Calories 1009.5
  • Total Fat - 68.3 g
  • Saturated Fat - 28.9 g
  • Cholesterol - 361.2 mg
  • Sodium - 2796.8 mg
  • Total Carbohydrate - 41.9 g
  • Dietary Fiber - 3.3 g
  • Sugars - 1.4 g
  • Protein - 58.3 g
  • Calcium - 552.2 mg
  • Iron - 4.1 mg
  • Vitamin C - 5.5 mg
  • Thiamin - 0.5 mg


Step 1

Combine the water and salt in a heavy 3 qt.saucepan and bring to a boil. Gradually add the grits, stirring, reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook till the liquid has been absorbed, 15 to 25 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove the pan from the heat; add the cheese and butter, and stir till melted. Add the cream and stir to combine. Keep warm while you skip to Step 3 and make the shrimp. IGNORE INSTRUCTIONS IN STEP 5 FOR POLENTA!


Step 2

Place the water and salt in a 3 quart heavy-bottomed saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat.

Step 3

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine sherry, both paprikas, Worcestershire sauce, and kosher salt. Add the shrimp and toss to combine. Set aside.

Step 4

In a large cast-iron skillet over medium heat, combine the olive oil, butter, garlic, bay leaves, and thyme. When they start to sizzle, reduce the heat to low.

Step 5

By now, the water has probably come to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and have all of your polenta ingredients handy. Add the polenta to the water and stir constantly until the polenta thickens. Add the butter and cheese, stirring constantly. Add the cream, stir to incorporate, cover and keep warm.

Step 6

By now, the garlic butter has been simmering. Turn the heat up to medium and add the shrimp mixture to the hot skillet. Cook the shrimp for about 2 minutes.

Step 7

Add the diced tomatoes and cook and stir shrimp for about 2 minutes more, then add the cream and turn heat down to reduce and thicken sauce, about 1 minute more. Don't overcook the shrimp!

Step 8

Serve shrimp in shallow bowls over the grits or polenta, and garnish with the crumbled bacon. Sprinkle with the parsley or green onions if using.

Tips & Variations

No special items needed.