Shrimp Étouffée with Creamy Grits Recipe

Shrimp Étouffée with Creamy Grits Recipe

Photo by Farideh Sadeghin

Serves: 4
Prep time: 30 minutes
Total time: 1 hour 30 minutes


for the étouffée:
2 pounds|950 grams shell-on, head-on shrimp
3 ribs celery 
1 medium yellow onion 
1 bunch scallions, trimmed and thinly sliced
1 green bell pepper, cored, seeded, and diced 
3 garlic cloves, minced
8 tablespoons|113 grams unsalted butter
8 ounces|225 grams tomatoes, finely chopped 
1 tablespoon sweet paprika
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1 teaspoon onion powder
½ teaspoon cayenne
½ cup|80 grams all-purpose flour
¼ cup|60 ml brewed coffee, preferably Folgers Black Gold
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 teaspoons hot sauce
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

for the grits:
3 cups|675 ml whole milk
1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt, plus more to taste
1 ½ cup|277 grams corn grits
5 tablespoons|85 grams unsalted butter

for the poached eggs:
¼ cup|60 ml vinegar
4 large eggs


  1. Make the étouffée: Remove and reserve the heads of the shrimp. Peel and devein them, reserving the shells with the heads. You should have about 12 ounces|356 grams of heads and shells. Refrigerate the shrimp until ready to use.
  2. Place the shrimp shells and heads into a medium saucepan and cover with 6 cups|1419 ml water. 
  3. Dice the celery and onion, adding in the trimmings to the saucepan with the shrimp shells. Trim the scallions, throwing the trimmings into the saucepan as well. Thinly slice the scallions, keeping the greens and whites separate. 
  4. Bring the saucepan of shrimp to a low simmer over medium to medium-low and cook for 45 minutes, then strain through a fine mesh strainer, discarding the solids. You should have 4 cups|1 liter of stock. 
  5. Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium-high. Add the celery, onion, and bell pepper and cook, stirring, until soft, about 8 minutes. Throw in the garlic and cook 1 to 2 minutes more, then stir in the tomatoes and cook until broken down and soft, about 5 minutes. Add the paprika, garlic salt, onion powder, and cayenne and cook 1 minute more, then stir in the flour. Cook 2 minutes, adjusting the heat to medium, then slowly stir in the reserved shrimp stock. Cook until thick, about 2 minutes, then stir in the coffee. Reduce the heat to maintain a low simmer and cook 15 minutes. 
  6. Stir in the shrimp and the scallion whites and cook until the shrimp are cooked through, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in half of the scallion greens, plus the hot sauce and Worcestershire sauce. Season to taste with salt and pepper and keep warm. 
  7. Make the grits: Bring the milk, salt, and 3 cups|675 ml water to a boil in a large saucepan. Add the grits and lower the heat to maintain a simmer over low. Cook, stirring occasionally, until thick and creamy, about 12 minutes. Stir in the butter and season with salt. Cover for at least 2 to 3 minutes. Keep warm. 
  8. Poach the eggs: Bring 8 cups|1892 ml water and the vinegar to a simmer in a medium saucepan over medium. Using a spoon, create a whirlpool in the saucepan. Drop an egg in and give the water another swirl. You can poach a few eggs at a time. Poach for 2 minutes and 30 seconds, then, using a slotted spoon, transfer the eggs to a bowl of ice water to stop them from cooking and to hold. Repeat cooking the remaining eggs. 
  9. To serve, divide the grits among 4 plates and top each with some étouffée. 
  10. Bring a medium saucepan of water to a low simmer. Carefully add the eggs and warm through for about 2 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, divide the eggs among the plates and season with salt and pepper. Garnish with the remaining scallion greens to serve.

Get recipes like this and more in the Munchies Recipes newsletter. Sign up here.