My Chef's Hat - Old Charleston Style Shrimp & Grits

Growing up, I never ate grits.  Not sure why, but I always just thought they wouldn't taste good.  When I worked at Maryland, I traveled to the away games with the team and we always made at least one trip per year to North Carolina.  Well, grits are basically a staple down there, and I tried my first bowl at the hotel buffet for breakfast.  My friends suggested I add butter and salt, to add some flavor.  I did it, tried it, and fell in love.  I went from never eating it, to always looking for it on a breakfast buffet.  I bought some as well, and make it for breakfast quite often.  Not the quick-cooking grits, mind you.  I go with the regular, 20-minute grits. Every time I make them I think of the movie "My Cousin Vinnie". 

I've had shrimp & grits a few times at restaurants, but never tackled making it myself.  You would think it would be so simple, but I always shied away from it.  Sunday night I found a recipe for Old Charleston Style Shrimp & Grits, and I decided to go for it. 

The recipe calls for half-and-half to make the grits, but I've never done that before, and saw no point in starting now.  I went looking for andouille sausage at the grocery store but, as you can imagine, it's pretty hard to find in Stillwater.  So I went with lite smoked sausage instead.  One thing I still have a lot of issues with is making a roux.  I can melt the margarine just fine, but once I add the flour it never looks like those chefs on TV.  Not sure if that affects the outcome or not. 

Here's the official version:

And here's my version...

Wow, it was really awesome!  I used a little too much margarine--especially since I added some to the grits at the end--but I use Smart Balance Light, so I was way better off than if I'd used real margarine or butter.  The shrimp got a kick from the cayenne, but it wasn't overpowering.  I think I forgot to add the worchestershire sauce, but honestly I didn't notice until I re-read the recipe for this blog entry. 

Will I make it again?  Of course!  It's easy to make, delicious, and pretty filling for a shrimp-based dish.  I'll cut back a little on the margarine, and make sure to add the worchestershire. 

Recipe found on