3 cups water
2 teaspoons salt
1 cup coarsely ground grits
2 cups whole milk
2 pounds uncooked 22 to 26 count shrimp, peeled and deveined
salt to taste
1 pinch hot smoked Hungarian paprika, or to taste
1 lemon, zest and juiced
2 tablespoons lemon thyme
1 pound andouille sausage, cut into 1/4-inch slices
5 slices hickory smoked bacon
1 medium green bell pepper, chopped
1 medium red bell pepper, chopped
1 medium yellow bell pepper, chopped
1 cup chopped onion
1 teaspoon minced garlic
¼ cup butter
¼ cup all-purpose flour
1 cup chicken broth
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 cup shredded sharp Tillamook Cheddar cheese
Bring water and 2 teaspoons salt to a boil in a heavy saucepan over medium-high heat. Whisk grits into the boiling water, and then whisk in half-and-half. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until grits are thickened and tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Set aside and keep warm.
Sprinkle shrimp with salt and hot smoked paprika to taste. Add lemon juice, toss to combine, and set aside to marinate.
Place sausage slices in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until browned, 5 to 8 minutes. Remove sausage from the skillet.
Add bacon to the same skillet and increase heat to medium-high. Cook until evenly browned, about 5 minutes per side. Transfer bacon to paper towels to drain, then chop or crumble when cool enough to handle. Leave bacon drippings in the skillet.
Add bell peppers, onion, and garlic to the bacon drippings; cook and stir until onion is translucent, about 8 minutes.
Stir cooked sausage and marinated shrimp into the skillet with the cooked vegetables. Turn off the heat and set aside.
Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in flour, stirring to create a smooth roux. Turn heat to low and cook, stirring constantly, until mixture is golden brown in color, 8 to 10 minutes.
Pour the roux over the sausage, shrimp, and vegetables. Place the skillet over medium heat, add chicken broth, bacon, and Worcestershire sauce, and stir to combine. Cook until sauce thickens up and shrimp turn opaque and bright pink, about 8 minutes.
Just before serving, mix sharp Cheddar cheese into grits until melted and grits are creamy and light yellow. Serve shrimp mixture over cheese grits. Sprinkle lemon zest and lemon thyme over shrimp and grits.