We take this traditional Southern dish and turn it up a notch with bacon. Serve it over Swiss chard to make a nutritious and impressive meal for company or for a weeknight family dinner.
I love shrimp and grits but I’ve never attempted to make it before. This recipe looked easy enough, and it was. My entire family gobbled it up. And because I went overboard on the grits and made way too much, we had leftovers with our eggs for breakfast. Score!
Shrimp & Grits: The Process
This meal isn’t difficult to make, but I advise doing all the food prep before you start cooking. First, cut and wash the swiss chard and set it aside. I didn’t do that, and I ended up scrambling at the last minute while the shrimp and grits got cold. Here is how I make sautéed swiss chard, if you aren’t familiar. Discard the stems or save them for another night.
Then chop the bacon, onion and garlic.
And wash, peel and devein the shrimp. I picked up a 2-lb bag of raw shrimp at Costco (we just joined Costco . . . oh my WORD, talk about overwhelming) and it was already peeled and deveined. YAY! So I just rinsed it in a colander.
NOW you’re ready to start cooking. Sauté the bacon, onion and garlic in a stockpot. I actually didn’t have great luck with this. The bacon never got brown and crispy. Next time I think I’ll do the bacon first, remove it, cook the onion and garlic, and then add the bacon back in. But no matter, it all tasted good in the end.
Then you add your grits. I had this box of yellow grits in my cupboard. I recommend buying organic grits to avoid GMO corn.
What Are Grits?
Grits are derived from hominy — dried corn kernels with the hull and germ removed. When this dried hominy is ground, it turns into what we know as grits. So now you know.
Add the grits to the bacon/onion mixture and stir to coat.
Then add your chicken stock, milk and butter. I picked up a case of this Pacific organic chicken stock at Costco. That right there is worth the cost of membership! I prefer to make my own stock, but sometimes I run out.
Stir it in.
Then bring the pot to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 20 minutes or until it is the desired consistency. I like my grits on the runnier side, but this is entirely up to you! You can add more liquid if you need it.
While the grits are cooking, you can prepare the shrimp and swiss chard. Shrimp only takes about five minutes to cook, and the chard takes about 10 so I recommend starting with the chard. See my post on how to cook swiss chard for details.
You can grill the shrimp, but I decided to sauté it in butter and garlic.
Why, yes, you use up quite a few pans preparing this meal!!!
I just sautéed some minced garlic in a mixture of butter and olive oil, and then I added the shrimp and cooked it till it turned pink.
When the grits are done, remove them from the heat and add some grated cheese. I used cheddar.
That’s it! Plate it up and serve immediately.
Shrimp & Grits over Sautéed Swiss Chard
The plates shown in this post are from Target, and I LOVE THEM!
- 6 slices bacon, diced
- 1 small onion, diced
- 6 cloves garlic, minced (divided)
- 1 cup yellow stone ground grits
- 1-1/2 to 2 cups milk
- 2 to 2-1/2 cups chicken broth
- 3-4 tablespoons butter (divided)
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- 2 lbs shrimp (or whatever your family will eat; we are pigs!)
- 2 bunches of swiss chard
- 3 TBS olive oil
- salt to taste
- Sauté the diced bacon in a stockpot over medium heat till crispy; remove to a paper towel to drain.
- Add the onions to the pot and sauté in the remaining bacon grease till they are soft; add half the garlic for the last minute. (Garlic burns quickly so I always add it at the end. Save half the garlic for the shrimp and swiss chard.)
- Return the bacon to the pot and add the grits; mix to combine.
- Add the milk, broth and 2 TBSP butter and bring to a boil; reduce heat and cook till thickened to your desired consistency. Adjust the liquid according to taste.
- Meanwhile, sauté the swiss chard over medium-low heat in 2 TBS olive oil and half the remaining minced garlic for about 10 minutes in a covered stockpot or sauté pan, stirring well after the first five minutes. Add salt and butter to taste.
- In yet another sauté pan, heat the remaining 1 TBS olive oil, 1 TBS butter, and garlic; add the shrimp and cook until it just turns pink — about 5 minutes.
- Taste the grits, adjust the liquid and add salt to taste. Off the heat, stir in the shredded cheddar.
- Serve the grits on a bed of swiss chard, and top with several pieces of shrimp.