Recipes From Around The Globe: Southwest Shrimp and Grits

The cuisine of South Carolina’s Low Country was heavily influenced by enslaved Africans in plantation kitchens.  Food historians trace the migration of Shrimp and Grits all the way to the country of Mozambique.  I did not know this the first time I ate Shrimp and Grits in Charleston. I just knew that I loved all kinds of shrimp – think Bubba Gump;  and I loved grits because they reminded me of the Sunday breakfasts my dad used to cook.
I love Low Country Shrimp and Grits because it’s pretty simple and really flavorful. My San Antonio roots, however, tend toward a spicier flavor palette. The compromise is a hybrid of the Low Country of South Carolina and the Latin of San Antonio.  Every time I make this dish, no matter where I am, I think of the amazing trips I have made to Charleston with Wonder Voyage and my beloved hometown.

Southwest Shrimp and Grits

Prep Time: 45 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Serves: 4


  • 8 oz. bacon – diced
  • 1 medium onion – cut into thin rings
  • 2 cloves fresh garlic – peeled and minced
  • 2 tsp dried cumin + 2 tsp chile powder – mixed together (or you can use 4 tsp of pre-mixed taco seasoning)
  • 1 small red bell pepper – cut into strips
  • 1 small yellow bell pepper – cut into strips
  • 4 poblano peppers – roasted and peeled and cut into strips (see note*)
  • 1 lb. fresh shrimp peeled (deveined if you want)
  • ¼ cup white wine or dry vermouth
  • 1 cup grits  – Prepare according to package directions for at least four servings.
  • 4 cups liquid – You can use water. For a richer flavor, use half either buttermilk or cream and half either clam juice or fish stock.
  • 1 cup shredded cheese – I prefer pepper jack.


  1. Brown the bacon in a large heavy skillet over medium heat.
  2. When the bacon is crisp, remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.
  3. Pour off all but about 2 tablespoons of the bacon grease. (Extra grease can be stored in the fridge and used in other recipes.)
  4. In the remaining bacon grease – over medium heat – add the onion, garlic, and bell peppers and cook until softened – 5 to 10 minutes.
  5. While peppers are cooking, toss shrimp in half of the spice mix to coat it.
  6. Cook grits according to package directions. Note: if you use buttermilk/cream, stir a bit while bringing it to a boil, and bring it to a boil more slowly than you would water.
  7. When grits are ready, remove from heat, and fold in the shredded cheese.
  8. When the peppers and onions are softened, toss in the shrimp and cook, stirring, until shrimp are pink. This should take 5 minutes or less. Stir in remaining seasoning.
  9. To plate the dish, put a serving of grits in the center of each plate, add peppers and onions, and then place shrimp on top leaving the juices in the pan.
  10. Add white wine to the reserved juices and cook down on medium-high heat for a couple of minutes. Pour some over each plate.
  11. Garnish with the crumbled bacon and a little shredded cheese.
  12. Serve with a green salad.


*Note: The easiest way to do this is to place peppers on a cookie sheet under the broiler – turning occasionally until the skin is slightly charred on all sides. Remove to a bowl and cover for about 10 minutes to let them cool.  Covering them allows the steam to loosen the skins. Remove the stems and seeds by pulling gently on the stem. Remove the skin by gently peeling.  Then cut into strips.


After graduating with a dual degree in History and Sociology, Molly became a youth minister in the Episcopal Church. She joined the staff of WV in 2003. As Voyage Coordinator, she adds the nuts and bolts to our itineraries. She is dedicated to bringing the gospel to life through pilgrimage. As an encounter expert, Molly can find the story of God anywhere and everywhere.

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