Mariner’s Menu: An award-winning take on shrimp and grits

Published 10:58 am Sunday, January 24, 2021

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By Vanda Lewis, North Carolina Sea Grant

This is the award-winning shrimp and grits recipe from Chef Fabian Botta of Ruddy Duck Tavern in Morehead City. He won the 2012 People’s Choice award at the annual Cooking with the Chefs program, which is part of the N.C. Seafood Festival.

Shrimp and Creamy Pumpkin Grits with Braised Pork and Sweet Potato Chips

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Pumpkin Grits

  • 1 cup coarse yellow grits
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 2 cups small diced pumpkin
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup shredded sharp white cheddar

Heat the water, milk and heavy cream in heavy-bottomed saucepan until just simmering.

Stir grits and pumpkin into simmering water, milk and heavy cream. Cook, stirring often, until the grits are tender to the bite and have thickened to the consistency of thick oatmeal and pumpkin pieces are tender.

As the grits thicken, stir them more often to keep from sticking or scorching.

Regular grits cook in 20 minutes. NOTE: Stone-ground grits cook in about one hour and need additional milk and water.

Season the pumpkin grits to taste. Cover, remove from heat and let rest.


  • 1 1/2 pounds cleaned shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, diced small
  • 1/2 pound butter
  • 2 jalapeños, seeded and diced small
  • 6 mushrooms, sliced thin
  • 1 cup tomato gravy (any simple tomato gravy recipe will do)
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • salt to taste
  • pepper to taste

Heat large skillet. Add butter, garlic, diced onions, mushrooms and jalapeños.

Cook on medium heat until onions are translucent. Add shrimp, salt and pepper.

Add half cup of tomato gravy and cook shrimp until pink. Be sure not to overcook.

To serve, scoop a layer of cooked grits on the plate, sprinkle grated sharp cheddar cheese and add another layer of grits. With large spoon, place shrimp and gravy on top of grits and garnish the dish with braised pork, green onions and sweet potato chips.

For the cider braided pork shoulder, follow your favorite recipe.

For the sweet potato chips, follow a favorite recipe or buy good quality all natural sweet potato chips.



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