Shrimp and Grits with Braised Southern Greens and Sorghum Drizzle

Bart Pickens

The Loveless Cafe - Nashville

A popular ingredient in Southern cooking, sorghum syrup is made by crushing the stalks of the sorghum plant. The Loveless Café drizzles it over their famous shrimp and grits. If you can’t find it, substitute molasses or golden syrup.


  • Braised Southern Greens:
  • 2 tablespoons diced slab bacon
  • 1/4 cup chopped onions
  • 3/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons dark brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon sorghum syrup
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 1/2 pounds (about 15 cups) cleaned and chopped turnip greens
  • Salt to taste
  • Grits:
  • 1 cup water, plus extra for thinning the grits
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup stone-ground grits
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • Kosher salt and white pepper
  • Shrimp Creole:
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup diced onions
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup diced red bell peppers
  • 1/2 cup diced celery
  • 2 cups diced fresh tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon blackened seasoning
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 3/4 cup demi-glace
  • 1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onions
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • Sorghum syrup for serving


Make the braised greens: add the bacon to a large stock pot over low heat and cook for 5 minutes. Increase the heat to medium, add the onions, and cook until the onions are translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the crushed red pepper, brown sugar, sorghum, vinegar, and water; bring to a boil. Add the turnip greens and reduce to a simmer. Cook for about 4 hours, until the greens are fully cooked and tender, stirring occasionally and adding extra water if needed. Taste for seasoning and add salt if desired.

Make the grits: combine the water and milk in a heavy-bottomed saucepan and heat until just simmering.

While the water and milk are heating up, put the grits in a large mixing bowl and cover with cool water. Stir assertively so that the chaff floats to the top. Skim the surface carefully to remove the chaff. Drain the grits in a fine strainer. Stir the grits into the simmering water and milk. Cook, stirring often, until the grits are tender to the bite and have thickened to the consistency of thick oatmeal, about 30 minutes. (As the grits thicken, you will need to stir them more often to keep them from sticking and scorching. You will have to add more hot water to achieve the proper consistency.)
Once the grits are cooked, stir in the cream and butter. Season generously with salt and white pepper. Remove from the heat, cover, and let rest until serving.

Make the shrimp creole: combine the flour and canola oil in a skillet and cook for about 3 to 5 minutes to make a roux. Remove from the heat and set aside. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan. Add the onions, garlic, peppers, red bell peppers, celery, and tomatoes; cook over medium-high heat for about 10 minutes. Add the stock, lemon juice, blackened seasoning, bay leaf, thyme, salt, and pepper; simmer for another 20 minutes. Stir in the roux and demi-glace; simmer for another 10 minutes. Add the shrimp and gently simmer until cooked. Stir in the green onions and parsley..

To serve, place a mound of greens and grits side by side on a serving plate. Top the grits with a few shrimp and a spoonful of the cooking sauce. Lightly drizzle the dish with sorghum syrup.


4 servings