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Southern-Style Shrimp and Grits

This take on shrimp and grits keeps close to the dish’s roots but elevates it with the addition of fresh tomatoes and kale.


  • 1 lb. peel-on extra-jumbo (16 to 20 per lb.), shrimp, preferably white
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 medium clove garlic, lightly crushed
  • 1 fresh bay leaf
  • 1 cup corn grits, preferably white and stone ground
  • 2 oz. (4 Tbs.) cold unsalted butter
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 large shallot, minced (about 1/3 cup)
  • 1 bunch (about 8 oz.) Lacinato or red Russian kale, stemmed, leaves cut into 1-inch pieces (about 8 cups)
  • 1 medium sweet banana pepper, sliced into 1/4-inch rings (about 1-1/2 cups)
  • 4 oz. cherry tomatoes (about 16), halved
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1 tsp. hot sauce, such as Tabasco; more to taste

Nutritional Information

  • Calories (kcal) : 510
  • Fat Calories (kcal): 150
  • Fat (g): 16
  • Saturated Fat (g): 3
  • Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 3.5
  • Monounsaturated Fat (g): 8
  • Cholesterol (mg): 100
  • Sodium (mg): 290
  • Carbohydrates (g): 40
  • Fiber (g): 13
  • Sugar (g): 10
  • Protein (g): 53


  • Remove and reserve the shrimp shells; leave the tail piece on, if you like. Devein the shrimp.
  • Place the reserved shrimp shells in a small saucepan and add just enough water (about 2 cups) to cover. Add the thyme, garlic, and bay leaf. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook for 20 minutes. Let cool briefly. Position a fine-mesh strainer in another small saucepan, and strain the liquid into it. Bring to a gentle boil and cook until reduced to about 1/4 cup, about 10 minutes. Set aside.
  • In a 4-quart saucepan, bring 4-1/2 cups of water to a simmer over medium-high heat. Gradually add the grits, whisking constantly. Bring to a simmer, and then reduce the heat to the lowest setting. Cook, stirring often and adding more water a little at a time as needed, until the grits are tender, about 1 hour.
  • Meanwhile, melt 1 Tbs. of the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Season the shrimp well with salt and pepper, and cook, flipping once, until barely pink on both sides, 1 to 2 minutes total (they get reheated later). Remove the shrimp from the pan. Add another 1 Tbs. butter and the shallot to the skillet, and cook, stirring, until softened but not brown, 1-1/2 to 2 minutes. Add the kale and cook, stirring occasionally, until just wilted, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the banana pepper and reserved shrimp-shell broth. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the kale is tender, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, scallions, 1 Tbs. of the butter, 1 tsp. salt, and 1/2 tsp. pepper, and cook, adding 1 to 2 Tbs. water if the pan looks dry, until just heated through, about 2 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Return the shrimp to the pan, cover, and keep warm.
  • To serve, stir the remaining 1 Tbs. butter and the hot sauce into the grits. (If the grits have become too stiff for your liking, stir in some warm water.) Season to taste with salt and more hot sauce. Spoon the grits into 4 to 6 bowls. Top with the shrimp-vegetable mixture and serve.


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