Shrimp and Grits with Andouille Sausage Recipe – Take the classic southern dish to the next level with shrimp and andouille sausage sauteed in creole seasoning and served with creamy, cheesy grits made with sharp, aged cheddar! Plus, scenes from a visit to Tillamook.
Note: This post was originally published on September 23, 2014. This Spicy Shrimp and Grits with Andouille Sausage recipe has been updated from the archives with updated content and photographs, as well as improved kitchen notes and recipe annotation. I hope you enjoy this favorite from my kitchen.
There’s nothing more comforting than a creamy bowl of spicy shrimp and grits with andouille sausage. My visit to Tillamook inspired this recipe made with their delicious aged extra-sharp cheddar.
Scenes from a Visit to Tillamook
When I think of a dairy farm, I picture the green pastures of the small dairies in the Northeast, the rolling hills and ‘happy’ cows of California, and the Holsteins of Wisconsin. But when I had the opportunity to travel to Oregon and visit the home of one of my favorite cheeses, Tillamook, I was not sure what to expect.
It was my first time in Oregon; a long-awaited visit made possible by my friends behind the scenes at Tillamook. I was lucky to learn that my dear friend Lisa was also invited, and having her company on the flight out of Oakland to meet blogger friends, new and old, was such a treat.
When we arrived, the mist hung like a bridal veil in eager anticipation of lifting, revealing brilliant blue skies, the depth of the seas, and the tops of the evergreens towering above. But for now, everywhere I turned, there was a cloak of mystery, and, without a doubt, a sense of place like no other I have experienced.
Day 1: Portland
When we arrived, Portland was our first stop, with just enough hours to explore the quirkiness it promised. Portlandia, my friends, is real.
The streets are walkable, each neighborhood tattooed with the spirit of Berkeley and the grit of the Village. Lisa and I browsed the awe-inspiring aisles of Powell’s Books. Obviously, we were tempted by the scent of irreverent fried dough at VooDoo Doughnuts. And we fought the urge to taste every single morsel from all the food trucks. After all, we had to pace ourselves to have a delicious welcome Tillamook-inspired dinner by Chef Vitale Paley at the Imperial that evening.
Dinner at Imperial
Tillamook dairy in all its forms was specifically the star of that evening’s dinner at Imperial, integrated throughout the meal. The cheese paired beautifully with the house-made charcuterie. (I recommend stopping by to taste their homemade sausages if you are in town. Sit at the bar as Lisa and I did, and you will not be disappointed.) Note: Sadly, this restaurant has now closed.
The yogurt balanced the spice of the Grilled Tikka Masala Quail. The cheddar (my favorite!) highlighted the Welsh Rarebit. But the shining star that evening, and I know my blogger friends agree, was the Tillamook Ice Cream Sandwiches. This self-professed chocoholic is still thinking of the PB&J-inspired ice cream sandwich featuring Tillamook Strawberry Ice Cream squished between pillows of peanut butter cookies. I was so glad Glory of Glorious Treats recreated it when she returned home. Do visit her and get the recipe. It’s a must.
Day 2: Tillamook Factory and the Oregon Coast
Early the following day, we left Portland and headed into the green countryside. It was a welcome sight for eyes used to California’s drought-parched hills. As our bus weaved through the forests, there was a magical spell that seemed to permeate with the fog – there were stories as we passed the little towns and through the dense evergreens.
When we emerged on the other side, the land flattened to pasture, I realized that Tillamook isn’t just a factory. It’s a real place. It’s a community with a sense of pride and work ethic.
The more and more we spoke with the people at Tillamook, this became evident. For the people of Tillamook – and the people of Oregon, for that matter – Tillamook undeniably went beyond a household name. It went deeper than that. For some, it was building their life around crafting delicious cheese. For others, it was pursuing innovation to make Tillamook even better. And for some, it was their life’s work to let others learn how wonderful their cheese is. From summer jobs scooping ice cream to visits to the coast with a trip to eat at Tillamook, it seemed as though it was very personal.
Learning about Tillamook
Anyone can visit Tillamook Factory and learn firsthand how there is a purity to the way they make their cheese. It’s a round-the-clock process; each batch started from scratch to the highest standards. I thought of my family and their favorite blocks of cheese as I watched the conveyer belts churn and listened to head cheesemaker Dale Baumgartner. I came to appreciate the heritage behind each block of cheese. It’s not just a factory – so many hands touch the products in many different ways.
Jill Allen, Manager of Product Quality, amazed us all in our behind-the-scenes look into Tillamook’s research and development. I secretly think she has the dream job. Not only does she have a hand in making sure the cheese tastes delicious, but she gets to dream up new ways for Tillamook to create new products and flavors and see them come to life. We learned more about why Tillamook is so good and saw some exciting products in the works. As bloggers, we had to pace ourselves as we tasted our way that entire day.
Tastebuds exhausted, then it was time to head to the coast, where we had time to relax at Cape Kiwanda. We stopped at Cape Meares Lighthouse to breathe the sea air and try to glimpse past the creeping fog over the Pacific.
That evening, after a full day, we were in for a treat. We settled in for a memorable dinner at the beach overlooking the elusive Cape Kiwanda. With sand beneath us and a firepit at the ready, we delighted in a perfect beachfront meal. We were greeted by gigantic Netarts Bay Oysters, Clam Chowder Shooters, and Three Capes Crab Fritters. Slices of my absolute new favorite Tillamook Anniversary Aged Cheddar rounded out each bite and each sip of Oregon Pinot Noir. After the fabulous dinner, Tillamook Tillabars and a s’mores bar were the perfect way to close out the evening seated by the firepit. I can’t tell you how nice it was to be surrounded by such good company – without a doubt, it made for one of the most memorable blogging trips I have taken.
Day 3: The Cows of Tillamook
On our last day in Oregon, it was time to meet the true stars and the hardest workers of Tillamook. With their eager eyes and curious expressions, the ladies, the dairy cows, greeted us as we visited the dairy farm of husband and wife Wendy and Ryan. They guided us through their farm, introducing us not just to these lovely bovine ladies but to a way of life so dedicated that it makes you genuinely appreciate even more every ounce of milk that goes into a single block of cheese. It’s a vocation, and I believe to be a dairy farmer requires dedication to the animals they raise.
It was clear that Wendy and Ryan love what they do, which was evident in how they patted the cows during our visit, calling them by name with affection and sincerity. Their farm is one of over a hundred that work together as the Tillamook County Creamery Association – reminding me again that it’s not just one dairy farm or one factory – it’s a collective of farms that all have an invested interest as a farmer-owned co-op.
As our bus left Wendy and Ryan’s farm and headed back to Portland to the airport, I was already thinking of all the beautiful ways I would enjoy cooking with Tillamook back home. I already do, but now I was going home with a broader sense of the cheese and some new favorites. The 105th Anniversary Aged Cheddar was haunting me. After Tillamook was kind enough to send me a wheel of this beautiful cheese, I knew I wanted to make a creamy batch of grits. As soon as I opened the package of cheese from Tillamook, I began to devein shrimp and slice some sausage – this Shrimp and Grits with Andouille Sausage Recipe was ready to come to life.
Shrimp and Grits with Andouille Sausage Recipe
I never fully appreciated shrimp and grits – or grits, for that matter – until I tasted the most incredible grits at the 2012 James Beard Awards. From that moment on, I realized that done well, grits were a very, very good thing indeed. This shrimp and grits with andouille sausage recipe has become a family favorite.
How to Make Shrimp and Smoked Sausage with Aged Cheddar Grits
The key to a delicious grits recipe is the balance of flavor and texture. You want creamy grits that have simmered in chicken stock and milk until they are a pudding-like consistency. And then, the best part: the cheese! I used aged, extra-sharp cheddar cheese for truly flavorful grits – use the best quality you can find. The more flavorful the cheese, the better the grits!
As the grits cook, it’s time to work on the creole shrimp and smoky andouille sausage. Heat a drizzle of olive oil in a large skillet or cast iron skillet over medium-low heat, and cook the onion, celery, and garlic until the onions are translucent.
Chop 16 ounces of andouille sausage – half diced andouille sausage and the other half sliced on the bias. If you don’t like spicy sausage, feel free to substitute it with another smoked sausage, such as kielbasa. Add the sausage mixture to the pan and stir in the creole or cajun seasoning.
Add 1 pound of shrimp to the skillet with a pinch of salt. As the shrimp turn pink, deglaze the pan with white wine, then stir in half and half and 3 tablespoons butter. Be sure not to overcook, so you still have tender shrimp!
To serve, place the grits in a bowl and top with the shrimp mixture and cream sauce. Garnish with chives and serve immediately!
More Tillamook Inspiration
I wish you could have been there to experience this memorable trip to Tillamook – perhaps one day you’ll go. If you do, then please have a scoop of Tillamook ice cream for me and some squeaky cheese! But even if you don’t, Tillamook isn’t that hard to find at your local market. Promise me you’ll make some of these cheesy grits. It’s a comforting and homey dish, and it will keep you warm on the foggiest days and the rainiest of nights. I know I’ll think of those hardworking ladies in the little town of Tillamook each time I make it. Without a doubt, they’re udderly awesome.
Looking for more Tillamook inspiration? Visit my fellow bloggers for more recaps and inspired recipes:
52 Kitchen Adventures
Authentic Suburban Gourmet: Post 1 and Post 2
Crazy for Crust
This Week for Dinner
One Sweet Appetite
Set the Table
Your Cup of Cake
More Cheese Recipes
Disclosure: Tillamook invited me on this trip as a guest, and I created this post in partnership with them. Thank you for supporting brands that matter to me; sponsored posts such as this help behind the scenes at Kitchen Confidante. All opinions in this post are, as always, my own.
Note: This post was originally published on September 23, 2014. The recipe has been updated from the archives with updated content and photographs, as well as improved kitchen notes and recipe annotation. I hope you enjoy this favorite from my kitchen.
Shrimp and Smoked Sausage with Aged Cheddar Grits
- 3 cups chicken stock
- 3 cups whole milk
- 1 cup stone-ground grits
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 cup diced onion cut into small dice
- 1 cup diced celery cut into small dice
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 1 lb smoked Andouille sausage half finely diced, half sliced on the bias
- 2 tablespoons creole seasoning
- 1 lb shrimp 26/30 count, peeled and deveined
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 1 cup half and half
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 3/4 cup aged cheddar cheese shredded
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Minced chives for serving
- In a medium saucepan, combine the chicken stock and milk, and bring to a simmer over low heat. Stir in the grits and let it cook, stirring occasionally, until the grits has thickened into a pudding like consistency, about 20-30 minutes.
- As the grits cook, heat the olive oil in a deep-sided saute pan over medium low heat. Cook the onion, celery, and garlic until the onions are translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the smoked sausage. When the sausages have browned, stir in the creole seasoning and cook for 30 seconds, then add the shrimp and a pinch of salt, stirring well. Deglaze the pan with white wine, then slowly stir in the half and half and butter. Cook a few more minutes until the shrimp is fully cooked and the sauce is creamy.
- Finish the grits by stirring in the cheddar cheese and seasoning with salt and pepper.
- To serve, place the grits in a bowl, and top with the shrimp, sausage and sauce. Garnish with chives. Serve immediately.