Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Southern Decadence (Grits a Ya Ya)

I don't normally post recipes, but this one is pretty unique to the Southern Lowcountry. Shrimp and grits were reported to have started as a simple fisherman's breakfast by the shrimpers using a small part of their catch. It was simple back then- mostly just shrimp sauteed in butter with true stone-ground grits, but these days it tends to have more flair. I found a recipe for Grits a Ya Ya on AllRecipes (shared below) that is a Louisiana version of this dish and is about a decadent as you can get with heavy whipping cream and smokey, creamy Gouda cheese. Here is a picture of the finished meal:

We made everything but the grits in our cast iron pan and it came out perfectly. Also we were able to keep the bacon fat for other future meals (yum!).


3 1/2 cups chicken stock
3/4 cup old fashioned grits
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 cup shredded smoked Gouda cheese (this kind gives the grits just the right texture and flavor)
1/4 cup butter (I used salted)
8 slices bacon, chopped (crispy!)
3 tablespoons additional butter (salted.. sorry, I have a problem..)
1 tablespoon minced shallot (if not grown, can be purchased next to the onions at the grocery store usually)
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 splash white wine (we just used the cheapest dry one at the store)
1 pound jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 cups chopped spinach
1 cup chopped portobello mushrooms
1/4 cup sliced green onions
2 cups heavy cream
1 dash hot pepper sauce, or to taste (I used several good shakes, but I like it with a kick)
salt and ground black pepper to taste
  1. Bring the chicken stock to a boil in a saucepan over high heat.
  2. Slowly pour the grits into the stock while stirring constantly.
  3. Reduce heat to low; simmer until the grits are tender and thick, 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Stir in 1/4 cup heavy cream to thin the grits.
  5. Stir in the Gouda cheese and 1/4 cup butter until melted and smooth.
  6. While the grits are cooking, place the bacon in a large, deep skillet over medium heat; cook until the bacon fat is rendered, about 3 minutes.
  7. Stir in the shallot and garlic; cooking and stirring until the shallots are tender, about 5 minutes.
  8. Pour in the white wine and stir in 3 tablespoons butter, cooking and stirring until the butter has melted.
  9. Drop the shrimp in the skillet; cook and stir until they are bright pink on the outside and the meat is no longer transparent in the center, about 3 minutes.
  10. Stir in the spinach, mushrooms, and green onions; cook and stir until the spinach wilts, about 2 minutes more.
  11. Remove the shrimp with a slotted spoon.
  12. Stir in 2 cups heavy cream. Simmer until the cream is reduced by about a third, about 10 minutes.
  13. Season with hot sauce, salt, and pepper.
  14. Return the shrimp to the skillet to heat through.
  15. Serve shrimp and sauce over the prepared grits.
We are trying to use less heavy cream next time so it is healthier, but the recipe is very forgiving and you can play with the ratios in the sauce to get it customized for your needs. Bon appetit!


  1. I think I would like this! It looks very good!

    1. It is very rich and creamy with a lot of flavor from the bacon and all the other good stuff, but it does take a little to prepare. I would say it was worth it for us and we look forward to making it again with a few tweaks (less cream, less sauce overall). :)

  2. This is MY kind of recipe! I tried making shrimp and grits before, but it wasn't nearly this decadent (which is prob why it was a flop in our house :) ). Maybe for a special occasion....

    1. This might just be the one. I am really picky about grits and these came out so creamy and delicious that everything else was just a bonus, lol. So thankful that these kinds of regional/historical recipes are posted from time to time. I found an amazing one for red beans and rice that I will try to take pictures of next time I make it. I never really met a true Cajun recipe that I didn't absolutely love though. Their version of BBQ shrimp (no BBQ is involved in this one) is my favorite cooked meal in the whole world.