Shrimp and Cheesy Grits

shrimp and cheesy grits
Photo: Chris Simpson
Total Time:
30 mins

Delectable for brunch, lunch, or dinner, our take on this favorite Low Country dish builds from a surprising base: breakfast sausage. You sear it, breaking itup so its bold herbs and spices touch every other ingredient, including the holy flavor trinity of onion, bell pepper, and celery that goes in next. Deglazing the pan at the end creates a rich sauce to drizzle over the shrimp and everything, including the rich, cheesy grits.


  • 2 ¾ cups homemade or low-sodium chicken broth, divided

  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

  • 1 cup stone-ground white or yellow grits

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided

  • 5 ounces breakfast sausage, casings removed (⅔ cup)

  • 1 small onion, diced (1 cup)

  • 1 bell pepper, seeded and diced (¾ cup)

  • 2 celery stalks, diced (¾ cup), plus ¼ cup torn inner leaves, for serving

  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves, or ¾ teaspoon dried

  • 1 pound peeled, deveined large shrimp

  • 2 ounces mild cheddar or Colby Jack, shredded (⅔ cup)

  • 8 ounces cherry tomatoes, halved (1 ½ cups)

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil


  1. In a saucepan, bring 2 cups broth and 2 cups water to a boil; season with salt and pepper. Whisk in grits. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, partially covered and whisking occasionally, until tender, 30 to 50 minutes (depending on grain size and desired texture). If grits become too stiff before turning tender and creamy, whisk in more hot water a little at a time.

  2. Meanwhile, melt 1 tablespoon butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add sausage and cook, breaking into bite-size pieces, until just cooked through and crisp in places, 5 to 6 minutes. Transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate with a slotted spoon, leaving fat in skillet.

  3. Add 1 more tablespoon butter to skillet along with onion, bell pepper, celery, and thyme; season. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are tender but not developing any color, 4 to 5 minutes. Season shrimp, add to skillet, and cook, stirring a few times, until opaque and just cooked through, 4 to 5 minutes.

  4. Transfer mixture to a bowl; cover to keep warm. Add remaining 3/4 cup broth to skillet and bring to a simmer, whisking to remove any browned bits from bottom. Remove from heat.

  5. Remove grits from heat; stir in cheese and remaining 2 tablespoons butter until melted and smooth. Toss tomatoes and celery leaves with oil; season. Serve grits with shrimp mixture, sausage, pan sauce, and tomato salad.

Cook's Notes

Stone-ground grits have a superior texture to quick-cooking and are more nutritious since they're whole-grain. To save 15 to 20 minutes of simmering time, soak them in water overnight.

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