A Rich, Decadent Shrimp & Grits Recipe for National Shrimp Day? Yes, Please!

Rye’s Colby & Megan Garrelts, Photo credits by Bonjwing Lee

Chef Colby Garrelts is famed for many of his recipes, but the one we obsess over on the daily is his unbelievably decadent shrimp and grits. He has stirred so many rich ingredients into one dish, it’s a wonder our cholesterol levels haven’t gone up. Not that we’d care—it’s that good.

Because today is the holiest of days—National Shrimp Day—and Garrelts graciously offered up his Shrimp & Grits recipe, we’re sharing it with you. The legendary dish was introduced at Bluestem, but nowadays you can find it on the menu at the two Rye locations.

Bluestem’s original Shrimp & Grits

Shrimp and Grits (small batch)
Makes two portions

 For Sauce:
¼ cup Worcestershire
¼ cup hot sauce

For Grits:
1 cup coarse-ground grits
4 cups heavy cream
1 ½  cups shredded cheddar
Salt and white pepper to Taste

For Shrimp:
12 each            16-20 count domestic white or brown shrimp, peeled and deveined
½ cup               Dry white wine
½ cup               Cold unsalted butter, cubed
4 ounces          Smoked pork
2 cloves            Garlic, sliced
1 tablespoon    Parsley, chopped
2                        Lemon wedges
¼ cup               Scallions, sliced
Vegetable oil for cooking

1. For the grits: combine the dry grits and cream in a metal bowl or double boiler top. Using a double boiler or a metal mixing bowl and a saucepan, cook the grits slowly for 2 to 3 hours or until the grits are tender. The water in the bottom pan should be at a simmer. Stir every 15 minutes or so, and make sure the water in the bottom saucepan doesn’t boil dry. Once the grits are cooked and tender, most of the cream should be absorbed. Stir in the cheddar and season with salt and white pepper. Hold hot until the shrimp is ready.

2. For the shrimp: Place a large sauté pan on medium-high heat. Season the shrimp with salt and white pepper. Once the pan is hot, add couple tablespoons of vegetable oil followed by the shrimp and smoked pork to the pan. Turn the shrimp after about 15 seconds and add the garlic. After about 15 more seconds deglaze the pan with the white wine and let it rapidly reduce by half. (It is very important that the pan is hot because you want the rapid reduction for the sauce to turn out and the shrimp not to be overcooked.) At this point add the sauce mixture and parsley. Stir in the butter cubes until they are melted or incorporated into the sauce. This will make the sauce much lighter. Remove the pan from heat.

3. Plate a cup and a half or so of the finished grits in your favorite entrée-sized bowls. Using a perforated spoon, top the grits with the shrimp and pork, dividing evenly. After plating the solids, pour some sauce over each of the plated shrimp and grits to cover. Use just enough so the sauce pools slightly around the outside of the grits.

4. Garnish each bowl with a lemon wedge and sliced scallions—and enjoy right away.