Carolina Kitchen: Shrimp & Grits with Tasso Gravy

Shrimp & Grits with Tasso Gravyby Seasons @Highland Lake Inn, Chef Nate Sargent

by Seasons at Highland Lake Inn; Chef Nate Sargent

Tasso Gravy Shrimp


  • 4 ounces tasso, finely chopped
  • 15 to 25 shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup chopped yellow onion
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 cup minced garlic
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • kosher salt and white pepper to taste


  1. For the gravy, sauté the tasso in the butter in a heavy stockpot for 2 minutes.
  2. Add the onion and garlic and sauté for 3 minutes or until the onion is translucent.
  3. Add the flour and cook until bubbly, whisking constantly.
  4. Add the lemon juice, and cream.
  5. Reduce the heat and simmer until thickened, whisking constantly and adding additional cream if needed for the desired consistency.
  6. Season with, kosher salt and white pepper.
  7. For the shrimp, season the shrimp with kosher salt and white pepper.
  8. Sauté in a small amount of olive oil in a skillet.
  9. Add some of the tasso gravy and mix gently.
  10. To serve, spoon grits into serving bowls. Top with the shrimp and ladle additional tasso gravy over the top.

Stone Ground Grits


  • 1/4 cup bacon drippings
  • 6 cups chicken stock (below)
  • 2 cups uncooked stone-ground grits
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • Kosher salt & black pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese


  1. Combine the heavy cream, bacon drippings and stock in a large stockpot and bring to a boil.
  2. Add the grits, whisking well.
  3. Simmer over medium-low heat for 1.5 hours, stirring occasionally until the grits are tender
  4. Stir in the Parmesan cheese, and kosher salt. Keep warm.

Chicken Stock


  • 4 lbs of chicken backs, wings, and/or legs that have been hacked with a cleaver into 2-inch pieces. You can ask your butcher to prepare the chicken pieces this way.
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 large carrot, chopped
  • 3 celery stalks, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 quarts of boiling water
  • 2 teaspoons of salt
  • 2 bay leaves


  1. Heat 2 Tbsp of olive oil in a large stock pot over medium heat. Add chopped onion, carrot and celery. Sauté until softened and slightly colored - 2 to 3 minutes.
  2. Add chicken pieces
  3. While the chicken pieces are cooking, fill a large Pot with 2 quarts of water, bring to a boil.
  4. After the chicken pieces have been cooking for 20 minutes, raise the heat level slightly, add the 2 quarts of boiling water, 2 teaspoons of salt, 2 bay leaves. Return to a low simmer, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon, then cover and barely simmer for about 20 minutes.
  5. Strain stock through cheesecloth or paper towel-lined large sieve, and discard solids. (It helps to remove the big pieces of bone with a slotted spoon first.)
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