This creamy shrimp and grits recipe is so simple, it only takes about 10 minutes of active prep time and then the crockpot takes over and you get to go about your business. If you're worried that this dish might be spicy because of the jalapeno pepper and hot sauce, don't be. The slow cooking process tames a lot of the heat. But if you prefer a milder dish, simply leave out the hot sauce and/or the jalapeno. Most kids love the creamy consistency and mild flavor of grits.
The shrimp are added right at the end and cook very quickly in the hot grits mixture. You just want to cook them until they turn pink. Arrange them on top of the grits for a more elegant presentation and sprinkle over some fresh thyme leaves or chopped parsley if you're feeling fancy.
- 1 1/2 cups stone ground grits (not instant; see note)
- 4 cups vegetable broth (or more as needed)
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 cup whole milk
- 2 slices American cheese (chopped into bite-sized pieces)
- 1 cup frozen corn
- 1 jalapeno pepper (diced)
- Optional: a few dashes hot sauce (such as Tabasco, Crystal, or Sriracha sauce)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 pound raw large or extra large shrimp (peeled, deveined, and if frozen, thawed according to package directions)
In a crockpot or slow cooker, combine grits, vegetable broth, cream, milk, cheese, corn, jalapeno pepper, hot sauce (if using), and salt. Stir, cover, and cook the grits in the crockpot on low 3 1/2 to 4 1/2 hours, until the grits are soft and cooked through. (The cooking time will depend on the kind of grits you use, and the shape, size, and temperature of your slow cooker. If the grits aren't cooked through, but the liquid is almost absorbed, add more broth and increase the cooking time.)
Add shrimp to the crockpot. Cover and cook for another 4 to 8 minutes, until the shrimp are pink and completely opaque.
Ladle into shallow bowls to serve, arranging the shrimp on top of the grits if desired.
All About Grits
Grits can be very different, depending on whether they're ground at a gristmill or purchased at the supermarket. Here's some info to help you know what to buy:
Hominy: Dried white or yellow corn kernels from which the hull and germ have been removed. It’s sold dried or ready-to-eat in cans. When dried hominy is ground, it’s called hominy grits. Hominy grits are available in three grinds: fine, medium, and coarse.
Whole-ground or stone-ground grits: These grits are a coarse grind. You’ll find stone-ground grits at gristmill gift shops and specialty food stores.
Quick and regular grits: The only difference between these types is in granulation. Quick grits are ground fine and cook in 5 minutes; regular grits are medium grind and cook in 10 minutes.
Instant grits: These fine-textured grits have been precooked and dehydrated. To prepare them, simply add boiling water.