I think it’s universally agreed, brunch is the best meal of the weekend. For multiple reasons. Yes, the food is always phenomenal. But what MAKES brunch is the company. It’s always the perfect excuse to pick up the phone and call/text your person. Be it that friend you haven’t seen in forever, that friend you saw literally the night before, or your partner. Food brings people together. Point blank.
I’m always a fan of changing up the brunch routine, trying new places, but sometimes it’s nice to brunch in the comfort of your own home. Bonus, you get to show off your mad culinary skills to your friends/significant other. Also, bottomless mimosas or bloody marys.
Can I be honest with you? For years I hated grits. I mean absolutely loathed. I didn’t get it. Until I had REAL southern grits. They were life changing. Now, I’m pretty much obsessed with recreating the perfect grits. I’m not sure that I’ll ever accomplish this feat, but dang it, I’m gonna keep on trying. I like to change it up between smooth creamy grits and more coarse, but flavor packed grits. This recipe calls for the latter.
Great pairings include: peanut butter and jelly, bacon and eggs, peas in a pod, shrimp and grits. This is my twist on a classic pairing. Creole Cajun Shrimp N’ Grits is chalk full of flavor. The sausage and the bacon make this dish incredibly savory, the combination of spices pack a punch of heat. There’s a new combination of flavors each bite.
The key to this recipe is to let everything simmer low and slow in order to really allow the flavors to meld together. I actually started the “shrimp” portion of this recipe before I started the grits. I start by sautéing the onion in butter, add in the bacon, followed by the andouille sausage. I keep all the access liquid. This will be the catalyst to really make the grits jam-packed with flavor. While the onion, bacon, and andouille simmer and load in the spices and I just let everything live there, in the spices. Note: I do not add the shrimp, yet. No one likes overcooked rubbery shrimp.
I want to take a moment to write a love letter. A love letter to this bacon: Dear bacon, I love that you are locally sourced. If local love was not enough, you’re also deliciously smoked. Smokey, bacon goodness. Juicy, smokey, savory goodness. Please never go away. Love, hugs and kisses, yours truly, etc, etc. – Me. If you can find smoked bacon, absolutely go this route. If not, in house, thick cut bacon is the way to go.
Alright, so we have our savory meats simmering, it’s time to get the grits on. These will take some time. I start by bringing the water, heavy cream, and salt to a boil. Add the grits, stir and turn the heat way down. Cover and simmer for twenty minutes. During the last 10 minutes add your shrimp. This will give time for the shrimp to cook and really absorb all the wonderful flavors from the bacon, sausage, and spices.
Once the grits have simmered for twenty minutes, I had several spoonfuls of the liquid from the Cajun Creole shrimp mixture and a healthy amount of butter (because what are southern grits without a ton of butter). Not much else to it other then assembling and garnishing with fresh thyme. And of course stuffing your face with this tasty dish and bottomless bloody marys.
Creole Cajun Shrimp N’ Grits
Cajun Creole Shrimp Ingredients
- 1lb Shrimp
- 1 Andouille Sausage
- 1/4lb Smoked Bacon, diced
- 1/2 Red Onion, diced
- 4 tbsp butter
- 2 tsp finely minced garlic
- 1 tbsp paprika
- 1/2 tbsp Cayenne pepper
- 1/2 tbsp oregano
- 1/2 tbsp basil
- 2 tsp dried thyme
- Kosher salt and black pepper to taste
- 1 cup coarse ground grits
- 2 cups water
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 4 tbsp butter
- Salt to taste
- Melt butter in large skillet over medium heat. Once butter is melted, add chopped red onion and garlic. Sauté until softened
- Add bacon. Continue to sauté until bacon is mostly cooked. Add sliced andouille sausage
- Toss in paprika, cayenne, oregano, basil, thyme, black pepper, and salt. Stir until spices have dissolved. Turn heat down to low
- Bring water, heavy cream and salt to a boil. Add grits and stir until combined
- Bring mixture back to a boil and then immediately reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes or until access water has dissolved
- The last 10 minutes while the grits simmer, add shrimp to the andouille bacon mixture. Turn heat up to medium low. Frequently stir bacon, andouille, and shrimp
- Once grits have finished, turn off heat. Add butter and 3 healthy spoonfuls of the liquid mixture from the grits. Stir until butter has dissolved
- Once the shrimp are fully cooked (ideally around the same time as you finish up the grits). Dish up grits into a bowl. Top with Cajun Creole Shrimp and a healthy amount of access sauce
- Garnish with fresh thyme