White Cheddar Grits with Ancho Chile Butter

Ancho (Ahn-cho) Chile (Capsicum Annum) means Wide Chile Pepper. This chile ranges from 3 – 4 on a heat scale of 1 to 10. An Ancho is the dried form of a Poblano Pepper and often is mislabeled as a Pasilla or Mulato Pepper. Anchos have sweet fruity flavor with hints of cherry, prune, and fig. Anchos, combined with the Pasilla and Guajillo, form the Holy Trinity of chiles used to prepare the traditional mole sauces. Scoville heat units are 1,000 to 3,000.

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2 tablespoons garlic, minced
2 tablespoons shallots, minced
4 cups chicken stock
1/2 pint cream
1 1/2 cups white coarse ground grits
1/2 cup white polenta
1/2 cups grated White Cheddar cheese
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves

Ancho Chile Butter:
2 ounces dried ancho chiles (1 package)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter


In a saucepan over a low-medium heat, sauté the garlic and the shallots in the olive oil about 2-3 minutes. Add the stock and the cream and bring just to the boil and remove from the heat. Add the grits, stir, skimming off any chaff or hulls from the surface with a fine strainer. Whisk in the polenta.

If you using a slow cooker (which I highly recommend), transfer the grits mixture and cook covered on the high setting, stirring about every 15 minutes. Cook until the grits are creamy and tender, but not mushy, anywhere from one hour 30 minutes to two hours, depending on the cooker.

If cooking the grits in a saucepan, reduce the heat to the lowest setting and cover, stirring and checking on the grits every 15 minutes. If the grits become too thick add hot water as needed to maintain a creamy texture, total cooking time about one hour 30 minutes.

While the grits cook prepare the ancho chile butter. Remove the stems and seeds from the chiles and cover with hot water to rehydrate, about 15 to 20 minutes. Drain and puree the chiles in a blender with just enough hot water to make a paste ( will yield about 1/2 cup paste). Melt 4 tablespoons butter and add about 1/4 cup of the ancho chile puree and mix until combined. Set aside.

When the grits are cooked, turn down the slow cooker to low or remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in the grated Cheddar cheese and butter. Season to taste with salt. To serve place the grits in large serving bowl or platter or individual gratins, placing a ring of the ancho chile butter around the outside edges of the grits and sprinkle with the fresh thyme leaves.

Serves 10-12.

From bijouxs.com