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  • Writer's pictureCarlos Sarmiento

Shrimp & Grits with Gruyère cheese, bacon and mushrooms featuring 2019 Daou Reserve Chardonnay

(Photo: Carlos Sarmiento)

One of my favorite places in the United States is Charleston, South Carolina. A charming city, rich in history and culture, that feels more like a familiarly quaint town.

(Photo: Leonel Heisenberg)

South Carolina’s southern style of cooking is known as lowcountry cuisine, a gastronomic melange of several influences that include: African, French, English and Caribbean.

(Photo: Leonel Heisenberg)

Lowcountry is a geographic and cultural region along South Carolina's coast, including the Sea Islands. The region includes significant salt marshes and other coastal waterways, making it an important source of biodiversity in South Carolina.

For today’s recipe, I am introducing a true lowcountry classic (with a slight twist)…Shrimp and Grits. This dish was originally called "shrimps and hominy," since hominy was the term Charlestonians used for cooked grits until well after World War II.

My twist by adding mushrooms and bacon promises to enhance not only the dish but also the buttery and silky flavors of the wine.

Let‘s get cooking!

Menu: Shrimp and grits with Gruyere cheese, bacon and mushrooms.

Wine pairing: 2019 Daou Reserve Chardonnay (Paso Robles, California)

Serves 4


  • 5 3/4 cups homemade or store-bought chicken stock, divided

  • 1 pound fresh large shrimp, peeled, deveined and with tail removed

  • 1 cup of fresh baby Bella mushrooms, thinly sliced (stems reserved)

  • 3/4 teaspoon sea salt, plus more for seasoning

  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1/4 teaspoon cornstarch

  • 1 cup grits

  • 1 cup grated Gruyère cheese

  • Freshly ground black pepper

  • 4 slices thick-cut bacon, diced

  • 1 medium shallot, minced

  • 2 medium cloves garlic, minced

  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed

  • 1 tablespoon fresh juice from 1 lemon

  • 2 tablespoons mixed minced fresh herbs, such as parsley and chives, plus more as garnish


  • Mix shrimp, 3/4 teaspoon salt, baking soda, and cornstarch in a medium bowl and toss to coat. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes (up to 1 hour).

  • Whisk grits into stock, set over medium-high heat, and bring to a simmer, whisking frequently. Lower heat to a bare simmer and cook, stirring and scraping bottom frequently with a wooden spoon, until grits are fully softened and cooked and have thickened into a spoonable porridge (should be about 15-25 minutes, follow grits package instructions carefully).

  • Add Gruyère cheese into grits and stir until fully melted. Season with salt and pepper and keep grits warm. (A piece of parchment pressed against the surface will help prevent a skin from forming.)

  • In a large skillet pan, heat bacon over high heat until sizzling. Lower heat to medium and cook, stirring, until bacon has rendered its fat and become crisp, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer bacon to paper towels to drain. You should have 1/4 cup rendered bacon fat in the skillet. Remove all but 1 tablespoon fat and reserve.

  • Return skillet to high heat and heat until very lightly smoking. Add shrimp and cook, stirring frequently, until lightly browned outside (with only a slight trace of translucence remaining in the center of each shrimp). Transfer shrimp to a plate.

  • Add reserved 3 tablespoons bacon fat to skillet, return to medium-high heat, and heat until shimmering. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring, until mushrooms release their liquid, about 3 minutes; scrape any browned bits from bottom of skillet.

  • Continue cooking mushrooms, stirring frequently, until lightly browned, about 6 minutes. Stir in shallot, garlic, and cayenne and cook until shallot and garlic are softened, about 2 minutes.

  • Add remaining 3/4 cup stock and scrape up any browned bits on bottom of pan. Stir in shrimp. Lower heat to medium-low and whisk in butter until fully melted and emulsified with the sauce. Remove from heat and whisk in lemon juice. Stir in herbs and season with salt and pepper.

Serve it up!

Spoon grits into bowls and top with shrimp, mushrooms, and their gravy. Top with reserved crispy bacon and additional herbs for garnish

Bon appetit! Enjoy!

(Photo: Carlos Sarmiento)

(Photo: Carlos Sarmiento)

(Photo: Carlos Sarmiento)

(Photo: Carlos Sarmiento)

(Photo: Carlos Sarmiento)

About the wine... DAOU Reserve wines come from DAOU Mountain as well as superior vineyards in select Paso Robles AVAs.

Winemaker Daniel Daou personally oversees these vineyards, enabling him to consistently produce reserve-caliber wines of character and elegance.

2019 Daou Reserve Chardonnay

(Paso Robles, California)

(Photo: Carlos Sarmiento)

Tasting notes:

The intensely fragrant DAOU Reserve Chardonnay offers enticing aromas of Asian pear, honeysuckle, Granny Smith apple, smoky oak and warm buttered toast.

Hints of pineapple, vanilla cream, hazelnut and ginger round out the luscious nose. A voluptuous, succulent palate displays flavors of lemon meringue pie, pineapple, toasted almonds, and honeydew melon.

Subtle notes of nutmeg, baked spiced apples and nectarine unfold along a rich, silky texture.

This fleshy, weighty Chardonnay ultimately finishes long and clean, with delightfully lingering flavors of lemon chiffon, tangerine and vanilla bean.


100% Chardonnay

Alcohol: 14.9%

Food pairing: Quite the versatile, elegant wine that pairs beautifully with light salads, seafood, chicken, cream-based sauces, pate/terrines, and risotto.


Special thanks to Daou Vineyards for this unique opportunity to experience and pair this lovely wine. —————————————————————

Decorative wine bottle collar drip ring by:

(Special discount promo code: CFW15)

(Photo: Drew Beamer)

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