With creamy grits and flavorful spiced chorizo and peppers, Cajun Shrimp and Grits with Chorizo is a fun and tasty entrée.
Creamy and spicy aren’t two flavors I tend to associate. But paired together in Cajun Shrimp and Grits with Chorizo, they are rich, exciting, and flavorful.
The dish has its origins in coastal South Carolina but has also come to be associated with New Orleans, especially spicier versions like this one, with the addition of a spicy sausage like chorizo or andouille.
This recipe is slightly simplified so it’s easy to make at home. But don’t worry–it’s still got plenty of flavor. And feel free to serve with a hot sauce if you’d like even more.
What are Grits
According to Wikipedia “Grits are a type of porridge made from boiled cornmeal… American colonists learned to make the dish from the Native Americans, and it quickly became an American staple” especially in the South.
Happily, today’s regional dishes are spreading ever more widely across the country. This means it’s becoming common to find things like grits (or Biscuits and Gravy) all the way up in Wisconsin! Yum!
Why You’ll Love This!
Flavorful. With layers of flavor from rich shrimp to cheesy and spicy, Cajun Shrimp and Grits with Chorizo is a tasty and exciting dish.
Easy. With a few shortcuts so simplify the recipe, this is a dish you can make any time you want!
Fun. Even if Mardi Gras is months away, you can have a festival of fun flavor any time!
What You’ll Need
- Broth. This helps to hydrate the grits. You can use chicken, vegetable or even seafood broth.
- Half & half. This adds creaminess as it hydrates the grits.
- Quick Grits. Using quick grits helps get dinner on the table on time. But don’t use instant.
- Sharp cheddar. This adds flavor and creaminess to the grits.
- Bacon drippings. Used to sautee and add flavor. You can also use lard, or another oil like olive oil.
- Shrimp. This adds flavor, texture and nutrition. And it’s shrimp!
- Chorizo sausage. Adds protein and flavor. Or go ahead and use andouille if you have that.
- Red bell peppers. Adds flavor and nutrition.
- Onion. Adds flavor and nutrition.
- Garlic. Adds flavor and nutrition.
- Poblano pepper. Adds flavor and nutrition. You can finely chop a couple jalapeno peppers instead if you’d like.
- Tomato paste. Adds flavor and nutrition.
- Dry white wine. Adds flavor and helps form the sauce.
- Salt, pepper. To enhance flavor as needed.
- No special tools are needed.
Step by Step Directions
Peel & devein shrimp. Set aside.
Prepare the grits.
Combine the broth and half & half in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil.
Whisk in the grits and turn down the heat to a low simmer. Cook, stirring, until the thickened, about 5-8 minutes.
Remove from the heat and stir in the cheese. Add salt and pepper as needed.
Prepare the shrimp and chorizo.
Slice the chorizo. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in skillet and cook chorizo until lightly browned. Transfer to bowl and set aside.
Heat the remaining tablespoon oil in pan. Add the peppers, onion and garlic and sautee until limp.
Add the wine and tomato paste, stirring to incorporate any browned bits in the pan.
Stir in the shrimp and reserved cooked chorizo. Simmer on low until the shrimp is pink and opaque, about 5 minutes. Be careful not to overcook. Add salt and pepper as needed.
Serve shrimp mixture over warm grits
How to Serve
Cajun Shrimp and Grits with Chorizo makes a delicious dinner or hearty lunch entrée—and it doesn’t need much else to be a complete meal.
I’d add a salad, especially one with a New Orleans flare like this New Orleans Fried Oyster Salad with Remoulade Dressing (you can omit the oysters for a simpler version). Some nice Smoky Radish Greens, fried okra—or really any other vegetable–would be another tasty and nutritious side!
Variations and Special Diets
If this has you thinking of other ways to get a little New Orleans flavor in your life, consider some of my other NOLA-inspired dishes. Cajun Shrimp Kabobs, blackened shrimp (I also do blackened mahi mahi and blackened chicken) and that tasty Fried Oyster Salad.
If you’re doing keto or low carb, you can finely chop cauliflower into cauliflower rice and give that a try instead of the grits. I haven’t tried it myself, but I’ve done the cauliflower substitution in a number of other recipes (for example Cauliflower Tabbouleh Salad ) with delicious results.
Any leftovers should last a few days, sealed and refrigerated. Betcha it doesn’t last that long!
Tips & FAQs
Since I use organic pastured bacon, I like to save the drippings to add flavor to dishes like this. I keep a glass pyrex container in the freezer and scoop out a tablespoon or two as needed. Or add to when I’ve cooked some bacon or side pork.
One of my fun new panty staples is dried tomato powder. I was originally gifted some and used it in my sun-dried tomato vinaigrette salad dressing. But now I use it anywhere I’d use tomato paste. It can come in handy when I just need a tablespoon or two and adds a nice umami flavor to foods.
Did you know you can easily freeze fresh peppers? Just cut off the stem ends, pull out the seeds, place into a zipper bag and freeze. No blanching is needed so it’s super easy! I keep local peppers handy all winter for use as needed.
Serious Shrimp Recipes
- Berry Pineapple Shrimp Ceviche from That Recipe
- Cajun Shrimp and Grits with Chorizo from Art of Natural Living
- New Orleans Style Barbecue Shrimp from A Kitchen Hoor’s Adventures
- Red Chili Shrimp and Noodle Salad from Palatable Pastime
Cajun Shrimp and Grits with Chorizo
- 2 cups broth chicken, vegetable, or seafood
- 1 cup half & half
- 1 cup quick-cooking corn grits not instant
- ½ cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- Salt, pepper
Cajun Shrimp with Chorizo:
- 2 Tablespoons bacon drippings (or olive oil), divided
- 1 pounds large shrimp shelled and deveined
- 8 ounces fresh chorizo sausage
- 2 large red bell peppers coarsely chopped
- 1 onion coarsely chopped
- 4 garlic cloves minced
- 1 poblano pepper coarsely chopped (or a couple jalapeno peppers)
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- Salt, pepper
- Peel & devein shrimp.
- Prepare the grits.
- Combine the broth and half & half in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil.
- Whisk in the grits and turn down the heat to a low simmer. Cook, stirring, until the thickened, about 5-8 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in half the cheese. Add salt and pepper as needed.
- Slice the chorizo. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in skillet and cook chorizo until lightly browned. Transfer to bowl and set aside.
- Heat the remaining tablespoon oil in pan. Add the peppers, onion and garlic and sautee until limp. Add the wine and tomato paste, stirring to incorporate any browned bits in the pan. Stir in the shrimp and reserved sliced chorizo. Simmer on low until the shrimp is pink and opaque, about 5 minutes. Be careful not to overcook. Add salt and pepper as needed.
- Serve shrimp mixture over warm grits
- Yes, You Can Make Chiles Rellenos at Home
- Honey Pecan Crusted Salmon