Treat yourself to the dinner you deserve tonight with Smokey Shrimp and Grits! Bold ingredients like bacon, garlic, smoked gouda cheese and more come together to make this meal truly mouthwatering.
It’s cold outside. I know, I know – I’m stating the obvious for the vast majority of us right now. I don’t know about you guys, but when it’s this cold, I crave warm, hearty, and flavorful meals like crazy! A salad just won’t cut it on days when the sky is gray and the temperature’s under 40. That’s where recipes like this one come in!
Why smokey shrimp and grits?
Smokey shrimp and grits is the definition of comfort food! Cheesy grits are the flavorful base for the shrimp themselves, and together, you get an unforgettably good dinner. And let’s be real – this is extra tasty during the chilly months since it’s so warm, but I make it during the summer, too! My craving for perfectly cooked shrimp and cheesy grits never quite goes away.
I have a hard time deciding what the BEST part of this dinner is. Is it the grits that are made scrumptious with butter, parmesan, and smoked gouda? Or is it the shrimp that are cooked with blackened seasoning, garlic, and a touch of bacon fat? It’s hard to say… and that’s why to stay safe, you should always just make both.
- Roma tomatoes – The seeds and membranes should be removed before you start dicing.
- White onion – In a pinch, a yellow onion also works.
- Chicken broth – Use a low sodium broth to avoid this dish being too salty.
- Salt – If you do happen to use a broth that’s not low sodium, you may want to skip the salt here.
- Grits – I use 5 minutes grits to keep things nice and easy.
- Smoked gouda – It’s best to shred it just before you use it to keep it from drying out.
- Parmesan cheese – Freshly shred this as well. Do NOT buy a baggie of pre-shredded parm!
- Butter – Keep this unsalted as well.
- Bacon – You can use turkey bacon, but pork will yield more fat to cook the shrimp in and better flavor.
- Garlic – Finely mince the garlic yourself for a potent aroma and flavor.
- Blackened seasoning – I like to use this one!
- Black pepper – As always, freshly grind it yourself for the best results.
- Shrimp – The tails should be off and they need to be cleaned and deveined.
Can I use frozen shrimp?
Yes, but they’ll need to be fully thawed prior to cooking.
Is this dish spicy?
It depends. Blackened seasoning can be spicy but typically it’s not like fiery hot. For me, I think I have some sort of sensitivity to black pepper so blackened seasoning for me makes dishes a lot hotter — peppery — than normal.
It’s two teaspoons so it shouldn’t make it unbearable by any means.
Can I make smokey shrimp and grits ahead of time?
The shrimp will stay fresh in an airtight container for up to 4 days when kept in the refrigerator. However, the grits will need to be eaten the same day that they are prepared and do not reheat well. I do not recommend making this entire dish ahead of time unless you have to.
Shrimp gets tough and rubbery when reheated so while you can keep it in the fridge and reheat, my suggestion would be when you cook the grits (if you are preparing the shrimp ahead of time), toss it in with the grits to gently reheat vs. zapping it in the microwave.
When it comes to dinner, keep it shrimply delicious ;)
Smokey Shrimp and Grits
- 3 Roma tomatoes, seeds and membranes removed and diced
- ½ white onion, sliced
- 2 cups water
- 1 ½ cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 1 ½ teaspoon kosher salt, divided
- 1 ½ cups 5 minute grits
- 1 cup smoked gouda cheese, freshly shredded
- 1 cup parmesan cheese, freshly shredded
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
- 4 slices cooked bacon, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, finely minced
- 2 teaspoons blackened seasoning
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 12 ounces large tail-off shrimp, cleaned and deveined
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and line a 9×13 baking pan with non-stick foil or spray with non-stick spray.
- Add the tomatoes and onions to the pan and bake for 10-15 minutes or until the onions start to turn a dark color on the edges.
- In the meantime, bring the water, chicken broth and 1 teaspoon of the salt to a boil in a medium size pot.
- Add the grits and cook according to the instructions on the package. (Mine took about 4 minutes.)
- Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the gouda and parmesan cheese and 2 tablespoons of the butter until melted.
- Cook the bacon in a medium size skillet until crispy then remove it from the pan and drain out the excess fat leaving only about a teaspoon in the pan.
- Add the remaining butter and garlic to the pan and cook until the garlic becomes fragrant.
- Stir the blackened seasoning, remaining salt and pepper together in a medium bowl then add the shrimp and toss to combine.
- Cook them in the pan for 5 minutes, stirring every minute or so to make sure all of them get cooked through.
- Add the onions and tomato to the pan and stir to combine and add a tablespoon or two of water if it gets too dry.
- Let it cook for another 2-3 minutes to make sure all of the flavors blend together.
- Add a spoonful of grits to a bowl then top it with the shrimp and serve with freshly minced parsley for garnish.
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition information can vary for a variety of reasons. For the most precise nutritional data use your preferred nutrition calculator based on the actual ingredients you used in the recipe.