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    Blackened (AKA Cajun) Shrimp and Grits

     A decade back, the only word I knew from the above title was shrimp. I had not heard of Cajun or blackened… or grits. Grits, what was that???

    blackened shrimp and grits in a white bowl

    The very first time I had grits was when we used to live on our sailboat. One lazy Sunday morning Jason made grits with fried eggs. I was perplexed. How you could eat eggs with this porridge like thing? But one bite of it and I was hooked. Jason’s grits are to die for… I married him instead… That creamy, cheesy madness, it has all the elements to get dreamy eyed. I will unravel all his secrets down this page.

    blackened shrimp and grits in a white bowl

    I think it’s in his blood to cook like a southerner. He was born and bred in South Florida, grew up on a boat for major chunk of his childhood and then moved to the middle of a farm in Tennessee in his teens.

    So this boy knows his stuff when it comes to soul food like chicken and dumplings, fried chicken, fried green tomatoes, and of course those so humble yet divine grits. These southerners can have their grits with anything; eggs, a piece of fried fish, or nice juicy fried chicken.

    But you know, over the years I’ve learned… yea, me lucky me… there is nothing like some nicely cooked shrimp in bacon grease on a bed of those gooey grits, sprinkled with bacon bits. I think it all comes down to finding that right man who can cook grits to perfection. So obviously, these grits are Jason’s handiwork.

    closeup of two shrimps

    That leaves the shrimp to me… shrimp and grits!!… who would have thought of that combo?? For decades it was a very, very regional Low Country dish of coastal South Carolina and Georgia. In fact, this bomb combo first came into our lives six or seven years back, quite by accident, on Jekyll Island, Georgia.

    Blackened shrimp and grits sounded interesting. We always order something we haven’t tried before or sounds strange to our ears. What’s the point of eating the same things again and again? Anyways, there it was… One bite into it and, then and there, we decided to take this dish back home with us. And from that time on, it’s here to stay at the Beisers’!

    close up of a blackened shrimp

    But shrimp and grits is like the new rage now a days on many restaurant menus. It’s like your new taco bowl rage. Remember how those taco bowls were an instant hit? They were suddenly there to “grit” you on the menu. It’s that big, at least here in Florida, with shrimp and grits.

    Over the years we haven played with numerous variations, but here is one of our simpler versions. This one is tad bit quicker and easier with fewer ingredients than some others.

    What goes in Blackened (AKA Cajun) Shrimp and Grits?

    ingredients for blackened shrimp and grits
    • Shrimp: Nice big ones! Sometimes we even use head on shrimp, but if you prefer your shrimp to not look at you, use head-off shrimp.
    • Bacon: To make some nice bacon grease to fry your shrimp in, and to crumble on top at the end.
    • Garlic, scallions and parsley: To sauté with your shrimp.
    • Seasonings: Today we are using Cajun seasoning, paprika, black pepper and garlic powder. Important note, different Cajun seasonings have vastly different sodium contents. The one we are using today has 290mg per 1/4 tsp. If you are using a lower sodium version, you may want to add a little salt. For something a little less spicy, replace the Cajun seasoning with my Homemade Creole Seasoning.
    • Grits: We prefer slow cook for ultimate creaminess, but quick cook work great as well.
    • Chicken broth, milk, butter and cheese: To make your grits super tasty. Today we are using Gouda cheese, but it’s fun to experiment. Sometimes we use cheddar, pepper jack or even bleu!

    How to cook your blackened shrimp:

    shrimp marinating in a blue bowl

    First of all, peel your shrimp and sprinkle your powdered seasoning over them. While those flavors seep into the meat, fry your bacon and then set aside. Now all you need to do is sear those shrimpies in bacon grease some diced garlic, scallions and parsley… gotta have some colors! Don’t overcook those yummy beauties! I myself don’t like to undercook… but overcooking your shrimp is no fun… No fun at all!! About 2-3 minutes per side.

    backened shrimp cooking in a cast iron skillet

    How to make the tastiest grits:

    Meanwhile, Jason is cooking his signature grits. It’s a pretty simple affair, but a few little details can make them special. His secret for this one is cooking grits in milk plus chicken broth. That chicken broth is the dividing factor between his and others. First, boil your broth in a pan, while heating your milk in the microwave. You don’t want to boil the milk with the broth, or it might scorch on the bottom. Once, your broth is boiling, add grits and milk. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for time specified on package (this will vary depending on the type of grits you use). Stir frequently.

    grits cooking in a dutch oven topped with gouda cheese

    And then, of course, Jason’s grits are loaded with some kind of cheese. Today was Gouda, but a nice sharp cheddar is another favorite. I’m afraid his kind of grits are not waistline friendly, but why not on some special night. And oh yeah, shrimp and grits night is a special night… You bet..!!

    blackened shrimp and grits in a white bowl

    That’s all you need for a special candlelit night… crown some shrimp atop a bed of grits, crumble with bacon bits, perhaps garnish with parsley and scallions… yeah… Shrimp and Grits!!!

    While you’re here, check out my roundup of the best shrimp recipes.

    Please let us know how you like it, and be sure to subscribe to our newsletter at the top of the page so you get all of our recipes!!!

    Blackened shrimp and grits, on my Gypsy Plate… Enjoy!!!

    blackened shrimp and grits on the gypsy plate

    Looking for more 30-minute-or-less weeknight dinner ideas?

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    Flank Steak Fajitas
    Easy Creamy Chicken Skillet
    Shrimp Remoulade
    Hunan Shrimp
    Welsh Rarebit

    Blackened shrimp on a bed of cheesy grits and garnished with crumbled bacon and chives.

    Blackened (AKA Cajun) Shrimp and Grits

    Yield: 4 servings
    Prep Time: 10 minutes
    Cook Time: 20 minutes
    Total Time: 30 minutes

    A Lowcountry classic. For this version, we use Cajun spices to give it a little kick! For the creamiest grits, go with slow cook!

    Ingredients

    Grits

    • 1 cup grits
    • 2 cups chicken broth
    • 2 cups milk
    • 1 cup shredded Gouda cheese
    • 2 Tbsp butter

    Shrimp

    • 1 lb shrimp
    • 4 strips bacon
    • 1 Tbsp cajun seasoning
    • 1/2 Tbsp paprika
    • 1/2 Tbsp garlic powder
    • 1/2 Tbsp black pepper
    • 2 cloves garlic
    • 1 scallion
    • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley

    Instructions

    Grits:

    1. Bring broth to boil. Meanwhile, heat milk in microwave (you don't want it to scorch in the bottom of the pan while bringing to a boil).
    2. Add grits, reduce heat to low, simmer 20 minutes (5 minutes if using quick cook grits). Stir occasionally.
    3. Remove from heat, stir in butter and cheese.

    Shrimp:

    1. Mix powdered seasonings, sprinkle generously over both sides of shrimp.
    2. Fry Bacon, remove from pan.
    3. Add Garlic, scallion, parsley and shrimp to hot bacon grease. Cook until shrimp turn pink, about 2-3 minutes per side.
    4. Serve over grits, sprinkle crumbled bacon on top.
    5. Enjoy!

    Notes

    • You can use quick cook grits, but we prefer slow cook.
    • For a bit more tang, replace Gouda with a nice sharp Cheddar.
    • The bigger the shrimp the better! Sometimes we like to get head on shrimp.
    • Leftover grits are great for breakfast the next morning. Just add a little water when heating if they are too thick. They last in the fridge 2-3 days.
    • We prefer to eat our seafood fresh, so have a feast and eat all your shrimp!

    Nutrition Information
    Yield 4 Serving Size 1
    Amount Per Serving Calories 446Total Fat 21gSaturated Fat 12gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 8gCholesterol 306mgSodium 2833mgCarbohydrates 21gFiber 1gSugar 2gProtein 42g

    Nutrition information calculated by Nutritionix.

    Did you make this recipe?

    Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Pinterest

    Be sure to check out my roundup of the 30+ BEST Shrimp Recipes!

    shrimp and grits ingredients with finished product displayed below
    pinterest image of shrimp and grits

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      14 thoughts on “Blackened (AKA Cajun) Shrimp and Grits”

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      • I chose this recipe because of the bacon, not going to lie. LOL my husband is from the south and LOVES shrimp and grits. Me, being from Illinois, had never ever had grits let alone cooked them. I was very nervous but everything turned out fantastic!! The gouda cheese was a fantastic choice and the bacon added a bit of salty flavor that was perfect. If you are thinking about making this don’t forget the parsley it was also a great ingredient. My husband is very picky with his shrimp and grits (imagine my reluctance to try to make this) but he ate two big bowls. Well done!

      • My husband likes blackened anything and we both love shrimp. Funny that I’ll order shrimp and grits when I’m in the South but I’ve never made grits at home. I’m going to give it a try sometime this winter.

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