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2000s Recipes + Menus

Maverick Grits

  • Active time:20 min
  • Start to finish:45 min
May 2009
Rice may be the belle of the ball in Charleston, but corn—that other staple of southern pantries—has a few good moves, too. This dish mixes land and sea in a colorful, salty, bountiful way. Thick, creamy grits create a soft bed for smoked pork sausage, shrimp, slivers of country ham, scallion, and tomato: a complete meal in a bowl. View more of our favorite recipes from this issue.

For Grits

  • 4 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 1 cup stone-ground grits
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream

For Topping

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 1/4 lb country ham, julienned (1/4 cup)
  • 1/4 lb smoked pork or andouille sausage, cut into 1/4-inch-thick rounds
  • 20 medium shrimp (9 oz), peeled, leaving tail fan attached if desired, and deveined
  • 1/8 teaspoon minced garlic
  • Pinch of Cajun or Creole spice blend
  • 1/4 cup sliced scallion
  • 1/4 cup seeded and diced fresh tomato
  • 1 tablespoon water

Make Grits:

  • Bring water, 1 Tbsp butter, and 1/2 tsp salt to a boil in a 3- to 4-qt heavy saucepan. Stir in grits and reduce heat to low. Cook, covered, stirring frequently and adding more water as needed, until grits are thick and creamy, about 40 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in cream and remaining Tbsp butter. Keep warm.

Prepare topping while grits cook:

  • Melt 1 Tbsp butter in a 12-inch heavy skillet over medium-high heat until foam subsides. Sauté ham and sausage until sausage begins to brown, about 4 minutes. Add shrimp and sauté until almost cooked through, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in garlic and spice blend and sauté 30 seconds. Stir in scallion, tomato, and water and sauté, scraping up any brown bits from bottom of skillet, until shrimp are cooked through, about 1 minute. Stir in remaining Tbsp butter and serve over grits.