Nothing chases away the chill like a steaming hot bowl of shrimp & grits. Have them for breakfast, lunch or dinner!

Ingredients
  • 1½ pounds medium shrimp, peeled, deveined and halved
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Tabasco or other hot pepper sauce
  • 1½ teaspoons salt or more to taste
  • 1½ cups stone-ground grits, not instant or quick-cooking
  • 6 thick slices bacon, chopped
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • ¼ cup finely chopped green bell pepper
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • ½ cup thinly sliced scallions
  • 2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 cup (about ¼ pound) grated medium to sharp Cheddar cheese
Instructions

Combine the shrimp with the lemon juice and a couple of generous splashes of hot pepper sauce. Let sit while you begin the grits and gravy.

Make the grits in a large heavy saucepan, first bringing 6 cups of water and 1 teaspoon of the salt to a boil. Whisk in the grits a few handfuls at a time. (They will bubble up initially.) When you have added all the grits, reduce the heat to a very low simmer and cook over low heat for 35 to 40 minutes, stirring occasionally at first and more frequently toward the end.

While the grits simmer, get the gravy under way. Fry the bacon in a medium skillet over medium heat until brown but still limp. Stir in the onion, green pepper, and garlic and continue cooking until the onion and pepper are limp, about 5 minutes. Add the scallions, sprinkle the flour over the mixture, and continue sautéing for 5 minutes longer. Stir in the stock and remaining salt and cook for 5 minutes longer. Remove from the heat while you finish the grits.

When the grits are thick and creamy, stir in as much of the butter as you wish, followed by the cheese. Add a splash of hot pepper sauce and additional salt if you like. Cover the grits while you finish the gravy.

Return the gravy to medium heat and stir in the shrimp. Cook until the shrimp are opaque throughout, about 5 minutes. Serve immediately, mounding the grits in large shallow bowls or on plates and covering them with shrimp and gravy. Serves 4

A Real American Breakfast, by Cheryl Alters Jamison and Bill Jamison. This is one of many ways to prepare shrimp & grits. Find more recipes in any Charleston cookbook.