Creamy Cajun Shrimp and Boursin Grits is an easy to prepare but elegant dish to serve for any occasion. Succulent fresh shrimp are cooked to perfection in a creamy garlic and parmesan sauce. Ordinary grits are taken to new heights with the addition of not only Boursin cheese but also smoked Gouda cheese. Are you drooling yet?
The inspiration for making this dish came from a phone conversation with my brother. He was describing a phenomenal dish that he had made. I was taking notes as fast as he was talking, thinking that I had to give this a try!
About Shrimp and Grits
Shrimp and Grits is an iconic Southern dish hailing from the coastal areas of Georgia and South Carolina. It was traditionally served for breakfast in areas with abundant local shrimp. Later, numerous variations started to appear and shrimp and grits began finding its way to the lunch and dinner tables.
For years, shrimp and grits remained a local dish more often served at home than in restaurants. It wasn’t until the mid 1990’s that the rest of the South discovered this amazing dish. Slowly, the rest of the country came to know shrimp and grits as it was elevated as a staple of Southern cuisine.
Numerous variations of this quintessential dish have evolved. However succulent shrimp and lowly grits form the cornerstone of whatever amazing variation is presented.
What are Grits?
Grits are a traditional Southern breakfast dish made from ground corn or ground hominy. Hominy is dried corn kernels that have been treated with an alkali solution such as lye or lime. In the process, the corn kernels soften and swell.
You can buy stone-ground grits, quick or regular grits, or instant grits.
Stone-ground grits are made from whole dried corn kernels that have been coarsely ground between the two stones of a grist mill. Because the entire kernel is ground, stone-ground grits often have a speckled appearance. They take much longer to cook than regular grits. Personally, I’ve only seen stone-ground grits at the local farmers’ market and arts and crafts festivals.
The basic process for making quick and regular grits is the same. The only difference between two types of grits is how finely the corn is ground. Quick grits are ground fine and cook in 5 minutes; regular grits are medium grind and cook in 10 minutes. Quick grits is my go-to grits the majority of the time.
Instant grits are have a fine texture. They have been precooked and dehydrated. All that is required to prepare instant grits is the addition of boiling water.
Ingredients for Boursin Grits
You need a few simple ingredients to make this amazing Boursin Grits:
- Chicken Broth – I like to use low sodium chicken broth, but feel free to use regular chicken broth if that’s what you have. You could also use water in place of the chicken broth.
- Grits – I generally always use quick grits because that’s what I can find I the grocery store. I haven’t tried stone-ground grits, but suspect that they would be equally good. The stone-ground grits, however, will take longer to cook than the quick grits. Don’t even think about using instant grits though. Their texture and taste are sub-par in my opinion!
- Butter – I always use unsalted butter in my cooking. If you have salted butter, you could certainly use that.
- Boursin Cheese – Boursin cheese is the star of the show with this amazing grits. Be careful that you get the correct kind – garlic with fine herbs.
- Smoked Gouda Cheese – I used smoked Gouda cheese in these grits. The reason is that I like the subtle taste that the smoked Gouda produces. I could have also used Velveeta Cheese or a mild cheddar cheese.
- Salt – The chicken broth and cheeses add a fair amount of salt to the grits. Before adding any salt, be sure to taste the grits to see if any salt is necessary.
Making the Boursin Grits
I started by making the Boursin grits.
First, I added the chicken broth to a large saucepan, and brought it to a boil over high heat. Then, I slowly added the grits to the boiling broth. After giving the grits a good stir, I reduced the heat to medium-low. I simmered the grits uncovered, stirring occasionally, until they were thick and tender. This took about 20 minutes.
Next, I added the butter, Boursin cheese and shredded smoked Gouda cheese. I stirred the grits until the butter and cheeses were melted and the grits were creamy smooth. I finished the grits with a small pinch of salt. Talk about good!
Ingredients for Creamy Cajun Shrimp
While the grits were cooking, I turned my attention to making the shrimp using the following ingredients:
- Cajun Seasoning – You can purchase Cajun seasoning in the grocery store. However, I always make my own using Emeril’s Essence recipe. That way, I can control the amount of salt that goes into it.
- Shrimp – The star of the show is fresh shrimp. I always purchase head-on shrimp from the local fish market. My thinking is that the head-on shrimp are the freshest of what’s available. It’s sorta gross cleaning the shrimp. In fact, anyone who says that deveining shrimp is unnecessary has probably never actually seen how disgusting the veins can become! Anyway, I left the tails on the shrimp more for appearance than anything else. You could definitely remove the tails!
- Garlic – I always use fresh garlic as opposed to garlic powder. I think the fresh garlic provides a richer and more refined taste to the dish.
- Flour – The reason for using the flour was to provide a bit of thickening to the sauce. You could omit the flour if you wanted – the sauce would just be a little bit thinner.
- Wine – For the wine, I used a dry Chardonnay – the same wine that I served with the dish. You could use a different white wine. I would definitely caution against using a cooking wine. Instead of wine, you could use chicken broth.
- Parmesan Cheese – I always use freshly grated Parmesan cheese.
Making the Creamy Cajun Shrimp
I started by tossing the shrimp with some Cajun seasoning.
Next, I heated some olive oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium high heat. Then, I added about one-third of the shrimp to the hot oil. I cooked the shrimp for a minute or two on either side and removed them from the pan. At this point, the shrimp had just started to color, but were not fully cooked. I repeated this with the remaining shrimp.
Once all of the shrimp were cooked, I reduced the heat to medium and added the butter to the skillet. When the butter had melted, I added fresh minced garlic (Photo 1). I cooked the garlic for about 30 seconds until it was fragrant.
Next, I added the flour and stirred to combine everything (Photo 2). After that, I added the wine and stirred the mixture until everything was combined (Photo 3). Finally, I added the heavy cream and stirred the mixture until it was smooth and creamy (Photo 4).
Before adding the shrimp to the sauce, I added some freshly grated Parmesan cheese.
Once the Parmesan cheese was melted and combined with the creamy sauce, I added the shrimp.
I stirred the shrimp into the sauce and let them simmer for 3 to 4 minutes to ensure that they were fully cooked. I finished the creamy shrimp with a sprinkling of finely minced fresh parsley.
Can The Creamy Cajun Shrimp and Boursin Grits Be Made Ahead of Time?
This dish is best served right after it is made.
However, if you’re in a crunch you can make the grits ahead of time. As the grits cool, they tend to thicken. Therefore, as you reheat them, thin the grits to desired consistency with some chicken broth. Also, if you have leftover grits, you can reheat and thin them with chicken broth.
You can make the sauce ahead of time without first cooking the shrimp. Start with cooking the garlic in butter and continue to the point of adding the Parmesan cheese. Then, cook the shrimp separately in the olive oil for several minutes per side. Reheat the sauce, thinning it if necessary with some chicken broth. Add the shrimp and heat the dish until it’s bubbly and the shrimp are fully cooked.
Other Shrimp Dishes You May Like
If you like fresh shrimp, you may also like one of the following delicious shrimp dishes:
- Shrimp Étouffée
- Easy Shrimp Scampi
- Elegant Shrimp Newburg in Puff Pastry Shells
- Spicy New Orleans Shrimp Creole
- Grits à Ya Ya (a.k.a. Shrimp and Grits)
- Pasta Jambalaya
What to Serve with Creamy Cajun Shrimp and Boursin Grits
This shrimp and grits dish is rich and filling. Therefore, I like to keep the sides light and simple.
Whatever you serve with the Creamy Cajun Shrimp and Boursin Grits you are definitely in for a real treat. Yum!
Creamy Cajun Shrimp and Boursin Grits
- 3 1/2 cups chicken broth (See Tip 1)
- 3/4 cup Quick grits (See Tip 2)
- 1/4 cup (1/2 stick, 2 ounces) unsalted butter (See Tip 3)
- 5.2 ounce package Boursin Garlic and Fine Herbs cheese
- 1 cup (4 ounces) shredded smoked Gouda cheese (See Tip 4)
- Kosher salt to taste
Creamy Cajun Shrimp
- 1 pound peeled and deveined fresh shrimp (See Tip 5)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 Tablespoon freshly minced garlic (about 4 large cloves)
- 1 Tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup dry white wine (See Tip 6)
- 1 1/2 cups heavy cream (See Tip 7)
- 1/2 cup (2 ounces) freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- Freshly minced parsley for garnish (optional)
- Bring chicken broth to a boil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add grits; stir to combine.
- Lower heat to medium low; simmer uncovered for 20 to 25 minutes or until thick and creamy, stirring occasionally.
- Add butter, Boursin and Gouda cheeses; stir until melted. Cook an additional 5 minutes.
- Yield: 6 servings.
Creamy Cajun Shrimp
- Combine shrimp and Cajun seasoning.
- Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add about 1/3 of the shrimp. Cook 1 to 2 minutes per side, just until shrimp begins to color. Remove from skillet. Repeat with remaining shrimp.
- Reduce heat to medium. Add 2 tablespoons of butter to same skillet used to cook the shrimp. Add minced garlic; cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add flour; stir to combine. Cook 1 to 2 minutes. Add wine, stir to combine. Cook 1 to 2 minutes or until thickened. Add cream; stir to combine. Cook until thick and bubbly, 1 to 2 minutes. Add freshly grated Parmesan cheese; stir until melted.
- Add partially cooked shrimp to sauce. Cook over medium heat until bubbly and shrimp are fully cooked, 3 to 4 minutes.
- If desired, garnish with freshly minced parsley.
- Serve with Boursin grits. (See Tip 8)
- Yield: 6 servings
Chula's Expert Tips
- I used low sodium chicken broth. You could also use regular chicken broth or water.
- I've never made this with stone-ground grits. However, if you decided to use stone-ground grits, you will need to increase the cooking time.
- You could also use salted butter. However, be sure to watch the salt content of the grits.
- I like the subtle taste that smoked Gouda adds to the grits. However, you could use Velveeta Cheese or a mild cheddar cheese in place of the smoked Gouda.
- I always use fresh shrimp for this dish. You may, however, use thawed frozen shrimp. I leave the tails on the shrimp for appearance. Feel free, however, to remove the shrimp tails.
- I like to use a dry Chardonnay, which is the same wine that I serve with the dish. Don't be tempted to use a cooking wine. If you prefer not to use wine, substitute chicken broth.
- Rather than heavy cream, you can use half-and-half. It won't be quite as luxurious but will still be good!
- You can also serve the Creamy Cajun Shrimp over pasta instead of grits.