Today I will show you how to cook the Pappadeaux Shrimp and Grits recipe in just a few minutes at home.
Since its founding, Pappadeaux has been serving the ultimate comfort seafood, drawing inspiration from Southern home cooking.
They incorporate Southern staples such as shrimp, cajun seasoning, cheddar, bell peppers, grits, sweet corn, andouille, creole butter, and dried hominy.
Southern cooks and fans of this cuisine tend to be very particular about recipes and cooking methods, which has nothing to do with being snobbish but more so with preserving the hearty and warm traditions of these dishes.
What is the pappadeaux shrimp and grits recipe?
Pappadeaux shrimp and grits consist of cheesy grits topped with skillet-cooked, seasoned shrimp, preferably large. Many describe this menu item as a smooth fusion of southern Cajun breakfast and dinner.
Grits are a frequent ingredient in Southern US cuisine, served both sweet and savory. It is similar to polenta but made from yellow or white corn or dried hominy, and it is creamier.
Other components are preferably large shrimp cooked in a skillet with red bell peppers, creole seasoning, green onions, bacon, and garlic.
Although there are minor variations, most shrimp and grits recipes, especially those served at Pappadeaux restaurants, include cheddar in the grits.
It’s possible to make this recipe at home?
Although Pappadeaux Seafood Kitchen is one of the largest restaurant chains in the United States when it comes to family-owned companies, their recipes can be replicated at home with ease.
Their menus are rooted in Southern cuisine, with many recipes being familiar to seasoned Southern home cooks willing to share them with the hungry internet.
Using instant or quick grits can further reduce cooking time. You just have to add salt and grits to the boiling water and combine them with butter, cream, and cheddar.
What’s in the pappadeaux shrimp and grits recipe?
Grits: If you’ve never had grits, you’re probably unfamiliar with southern cooking. They are made of yellow or sweet ground corn, which is less sweet and more starchy than regular ground corn. Grits are a creamy, smooth meal that may be used in sweet and savory meals. You can get it instant, quick, or stone-ground. Quick or instant grits, cooked in 5-7 minutes, are used in this recipe.
Bacon: You will need both the bacon and grease for this recipe.
Shrimps: Buy large, deveined, and peeled shrimp. Choose fresh ones, preferably from your local fish market. If you can’t get fresh ones, go for frozen or packaged ones that are usually of higher quality.
Cheddar: Pappadeaux shrimp and grits always use cheesy grits in their restaurant, so this recipe incorporates their traditional cheddar grits. Preferably use smoked cheddar for a bit of umami flavor.
Milk, butter, and heavy cream: Some recipes use broth instead of milk, but creamy grits call for milk, especially hazelnut milk for subtle flavor balance. Butter should be heavy. You can even use cajun butter. Heavy cream is optional, but Pappadeaux’s authentic recipes use it. These are all essential to recreating the restaurant meal.
Seasoning: There is some variety among shrimp and grits recipes, but the authentic one served in the restaurant uses Cajun seasoning, green onion, and garlic.
Pappadeaux Shrimp and Grits Recipe
For the Grits:
- 1 1 cup of quick grits
- 3 cups Water
- 1 cup Nut milk, preferably hazelnut
- ½ teaspoon Salt
- 3 tbsp Butter
- 2 tbsp Heavy cream
- ½ cups Shredded cheddar
For the Shrimp:
- 6 slices Bacon (smoked)
- 1 pound Large shrimp (deveined and peeled)
- 2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning
- ¼ teaspoon Cayenne pepper, ground
- 3 tbsp Fresh parsley, chopped
- ½ Lemon or lime
- 1 tbsp Avocado oil
- 1 Red bell pepper (finely chopped)
- 3 Green onions (chopped)
- 3 Cloves of garlic (minced)
- 1 teaspoon Smoked paprika
- ½ cup Broth, chicken or vegetable
- First, crisp the bacon over medium heat in a skillet. Cut up the bacon, and leave the grease in the pan for later use.
- Boil 3 cups of water and add the grits and salt. Cook for 5-7 minutes over medium heat.
- Remove from the heat and stir in the cheddar, nut milk, heavy cream, and butter. To prevent lumps, whisk them well until creamy and smooth.
- In a pan, sauté the chopped green onions, minced garlic, and red bell pepper in avocado oil for 5-6 minutes on medium heat.
- Add the shrimp, peeled and deveined, and season them with cajun seasoning, smoked paprika, and cayenne pepper.
- Brown them on medium heat for 2 minutes per side.
- Add the chicken broth and simmer for 5 minutes on medium heat until you get a smooth, even sauce under the shrimp, with chunks of veggies.
- Spoon the cheesy grits into shallow plates. Place a few spoonfuls of bacon-veggie shrimp sauce on the grits and place the shrimp on top.
- Toss some freshly chopped parsley on top, and squeeze some fresh lime juice on the shrimp.
- Serve this plate-licking dish hot and fresh!
Can I use frozen shrimp?
In many places around the world, buying fresh seafood is utterly impossible. In this case, using frozen shrimp is not a problem! They are freshly frozen, so it can be even better than buying from the fish market, not knowing when they were caught.
You don’t necessarily need to thaw them before cooking. Just add an extra 30% of cooking time. Leaving them in the fridge for 5-6 hours beforehand to thaw is the best way to sauté frozen shrimp perfectly.
Can I replace some ingredients?
There is a lot of room for variability in the Southern kitchen; however, most home cooks will fight you tooth and nail to prove that their version is the tried and true best one.
The solution? Try them all! Here are some tips from seasoned home chefs to taste all the different versions of Cajun shrimp and grits ala ‘Pappadeaux:
- To create a bolder and spicier dish, swap cayenne pepper for chipotle chili powder, and add some chorizo to the sautéed veggies. Besides bacon, you can incorporate some pork belly slices by slow-cooking them.
- Instead of smoked cheddar, add gouda or goat cheese for variety. The flavors will go through the roof. For a different undertone, add some tangy white wine when sautéeing shrimp, and parmesan cheese to the grits, lots of it!
- To amp up the meatiness, toss in some chopped smoked ham into the mix. And finally, besides shrimp, you can make this dish with salmon or grilled chicken breast as well. Many people are allergic to shrimp or don’t like the taste.
Finally, if you want to skip dairy completely, leave out the cheese from the grits and add some nutritional yeast instead. The taste will be similar to parmesan, and the texture will be the same.
Tips and tricks to improve this recipe
This recipe doesn’t call for a master chef; any home cook can recreate it immaculately. However, there is always room for improvement, even if not on the first try. Keep in mind these tips and tricks to make the most of this meal.
Always serve grilled or sautéed shrimp and grits fresh. Shrimp go bad fast, and grits dry out even faster. It’s easy to overcook them by reheating.
Use plenty of seasoning when searing the shrimp. As the moisture leaves the shrimp, it absorbs the seasonings. Fresh and wild-caught seafood is always of higher quality. If that isn’t an option, buy frozen peeled and deveined shrimp.
When cooking the grits, you can replace water with broth to enhance the flavor. They will thicken some more once cooked. Never cook them on high heat, though. The perfect ratio is 4 times the liquid to grits.
Southern comfort food is always a sweeping success among people. This meal is quick and easy to make and elevates any boring weekday.
When you have some leftovers, place them in an airtight container in the fridge, and eat them within 2-3 days.
When reheating grits, add some extra milk or broth because they have probably dried out in the fridge. Reheat them on low heat, and do the same with the shrimp.
Avoid reheating shrimp in the microwave because they tend to get soggy and rubbery from it, and it’s easier to get food poisoning from it as well.
There are countless restaurant versions of this meal, many of them perfected to cater to high expectations for fine-dining seafood, but this recipe stands its ground against them all. Even as comfort food, or as a meal for a special occasion, you won’t disappoint anyone with it!