This shrimp and grits dish is deeply satisfying comfort food. It’s a lot lighter than it tastes though. Grits/polenta recipes often use butter, milk, or cheese for richness and creaminess. Tip: you don’t need these things for rich and creamy grits. All you need is cornmeal and good tasting broth. The little bit of pork in this recipe certainly adds some richness, but it’s a small amount with a big payoff.
We went to the Texas coast this weekend, to a town called Port Aransas. Whenever we visit the coast, we bring home seafood. This time, we visited a market called Port A Crabs. We bought shrimp and crab cakes. I really like shrimp, and it has become so much easier to prep it since we got a shrimp peeler and deveiner. Totally worth the few dollars it cost. You can see in a photo above how it works.
I made the Cajun seasoning myself. You can purchase it premade or search for a recipe. Next time I make it, I’ll share my recipe. Same goes for lard and cracklings. I provided alternate ingredient selections since most readers won’t have lard and cracklings on hand.
Have you ever tried cracklings? What did you think? Share in the comments.
Cajun-spiced shrimp and grits
Recipe by Hillary Huber
1 tablespoon cooking oil (whatever kind you prefer- I used home-rendered lard)
2 ounces bacon, ham, or cracklings, cut into small pieces (I used cracklings leftover from rendering lard)
1 cup onion, chopped (I used half a red onion- any color will do)
A few cloves garlic, chopped
1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning
3 cups good tasting broth (I used chicken broth)
1 cup cornmeal (Any grind will work, affecting smoothness of the grits. I used medium.)
3 cups spinach leaves, chopped if large
¼ cup green onions, chopped
Salt and pepper, to taste
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add bacon/ham/cracklings and cook until starting to brown, about 2 minutes. Add onion and sauté 2 minutes. Add garlic and cook another minute. Add shrimp to pan, sprinkle with Cajun seasoning, and stir. Cook 3 minutes, stirring a couple times. Cover and keep warm.
Bring broth to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low. Gradually add cornmeal, whisking constantly. Cook until thickened, about 10 minutes. Stir often to make it smooth and to keep it from shooting out burning blobs of grits. Add handfuls of spinach, stirring them in as you go so the leaves wilt into the grits. Remove from heat. Taste a little and season with salt and pepper. How much you need will depend on the saltiness of the broth you used.
Spoon grits onto plates. Top with shrimp mixture and sprinkle with green onions.
My name is Hillary. This blog is about the everyday food I prepare in my kitchen, with tips and recipes for easy, wholesome, and diet friendly meals. I have been chanting "cheese please!" since I was a toddler, although lately I've cut back on dairy.