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French Onion Shrimp and Grits

French Onion Shrimp and Grits- Taking the traditional flavors of french onion soup, turning it into a sauce for succulent shrimp, and serving it over cheesy gruyere grits.

February 22, 2021 by Nicole Collins

So, I noticed something about myself the other day.

I seem to go through phases with the foods I eat.

I'm really good about making sure I explore different flavors and different types of meals, but I realized that I go through phases of having a “favorite ingredient”, and that ingredient seems to appear in every recipe I dream up.

The thing is, I don't even do this on purpose. And, I truly didn't even realize I do this until I opened my freezer the other night and saw 3 bags of frozen shrimp front and center. As I thought about it for a second, I remembered stocking up on shrimp because every recipe I seemed to dream up at the time called for shrimp.

But then, I moved on to the next flavor of the month, and the shrimp are just hanging in the freezer waiting for their names to be called.

As I thought about it some more, I've had this same pattern with mushrooms. I've had this same pattern with pasta. I'm a serial ingredient dater, and I didn't even know it!

Well today, we're digging out those shrimp and giving them their moment in the spotlight again.

So today, we're making French Onion Shrimp and Grits!

Picture it...we're taking all of the traditional flavors from a classic french onion soup, turning it into a saucy situation for some juicy shrimp to take a swim in, then we're serving it over a big ol' bowl of creamy gruyere grits. Does that sound like heaven in a bowl, or what?

Let's start with our french onion mix. We're going to start with with some butter and a big ol' onion. Both will go straight into a saute pan along with our aromatics. To mimic the flavors of classic french onion soup, we'll add some thyme, a bay leaf, and some worcestershire sauce into the pan with the onions. The worcestershire helps to give the onions that savory beef flavor that we know and love about french onion soup. We'll cook the onions low and slow until they begin to caramelize and turn to a deep golden brown color.

While the onions are caramelizing, we're going to pop our shrimp into the oven to roast. Roasting shrimp is one of my favorite ways to prepare them, because it requires zero babysitting. It's as simple as seasoning them with a little salt and pepper, and tossing them in the oven for about 10 minutes until they're perfectly cooked. Now this recipe is about timing, so we want to time the cook it so that our shrimp are finished cooking right as it's time for them to go directly into our french onion sauce.

To take our caramelized onions from jammy onions to a thicker sauce, we're going to give them a little sprinkle of flour, then pour in some chicken stock. Though beef stock is traditional for french onion soup, we want to use a lighter stock which will pair a little better with our delicate shrimp. So, we'll let the sauce simmer for just a couple of minutes to thicken up, then we'll add our cooked shrimp straight into the mix. We'll let the shrimp hang in the french onion sauce for a couple of minutes to help it absorb some of that delicious flavor, and the french onion component of our meal is complete.

Now, everyone knows that the best part of french onion soup is the cheesy bread crouton that floats on the top of the soup. So, we're going to make sure our saucy shrimp has a cheesy carb to compliment it. And, that's where our gruyere grits come in!

This is my baseline recipe for any grits that I make. We'll start by bringing equal parts milk and water to a boil. Then, we'll whisk in some quick cooking grits, cook them for 5-6 minutes until they're perfectly creamy, remove them from the heat, and whisk in some butter and lots of gruyere cheese. Now, I prefer to use quick cooking grits, because they're just too simple. They cook up so quickly, and they're perfectly delicious. There are other types of grits that differ in cooking time, so it is important to note that this recipe was written using quick cooking grits, specifically.

Once our cheesy grits are ready to go, we'll pour them into a bowl, top them with our saucy french onion shrimp, and garnish the whole bowl with some bright green onions. And let me tell you, this bowl of comfort is pure magic.

The shrimp are juicy and saucy. And, they have every flavor note that we love about traditional french onion soup. The grits are creamy and cheesy, and they are the perfect vehicle to carry all of that yummy shrimp and onions. And, I think the scallion garnish is a really important part of this dish. It brings a little touch of freshness that helps to brighten up an rich and comforting dish.

If anyone wants to know what comfort food in a bowl looks like, THIS. IS. IT.

Ok, everyone! I can't wait to hear what you guys think of this recipe!

I hope you enjoy, and let's eat!


French Onion Shrimp and Grits

Serves: 2 Print


For the French Onion Shrimp:

  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter

  • 1 large onion, quartered and sliced

  • 1 sprig thyme

  • 1 bay leaf

  • 1 tsp worcestershire sauce

  • 1 tsp flour

  • ¾ cup chicken stock

  • ½ lb shrimp, peeled and deveined (thawed, if frozen)

  • ¼ tsp salt, plus more to taste

  • 1/8 tsp pepper, plus more to taste

  • olive oil cooking spray

For the Gruyere Grits:

  • 1 cup water

  • 1 cup milk (I used 2%)

  • ½ cup quick cooking grits

  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter

  • 1/3 cup gruyere cheese, shredded

  • salt and pepper, to taste

  • 1 green onion, sliced, for garnish


  1. Prepare the onions: Melt butter in a large saute pan over medium low heat. Add the onions, thyme, bay leaf, worcestershire, and salt and pepper, to taste. Toss to combine. Cook the onions for 20-25 mins, stirring occasionally, until they become caramelized and deep golden brown in color. Sprinkle flour over the onions, toss to coat, and cook for about 1 minute to cook off the raw flour. Stir in chicken stock making sure to scrape up and browned bits from the bottom of the pan, bring to a simmer, and cook for 3-4 minutes until the sauce is slightly thickened.

  2. Meanwhile, roast the shrimp: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil, and spritz it with cooking spray. Add shrimp to the pan, and season with ¼ tsp salt and 1/8 tsp pepper. Bake for 8-10 minutes until the shrimp are opaque and cooked through. As soon as you remove the shrimp from the oven, add the shrimp to the onion mix, and stir to coat the shrimp in the onion sauce. Cook for an additional 1-2 minutes, then remove from heat.

  3. Make the Grits: Bring water and milk to a boil over high heat in a medium saucepan. Slowly add grits while whisking. Reduce heat to low, cover, and cook for 5-6 minutes until most of the liquid has been absorbed, whisking every 1-2 minutes. Remove grits from heat. Add butter, cheese, and salt and pepper, to taste. Whisk until cheese and butter are melted and fully combined. Taste for seasoning.

  4. To serve, spoon grits into 2 bowls. Top with shrimp and onion mix. Garnish with green onions. Serve immediately.

Recipe notes:

*Take note that there are different kinds of grits: stone ground, instant, quick cooking, etc. They all have different cook times. This recipe uses quick cooking grits.

*Put the shrimp in the oven about half way through the onion cook time, so the shrimp can go right into the onion mix as soon as the sauce has finished simmering.

*Swiss cheese can be used in place of gruyere cheese in a pinch.


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