My dear readers. I am about to share with you one of my favorite recipes of all time. I don’t know if words can even describe my love for this recipe, but I’ll try… I first discovered it a few summers ago when a group of friends and I went to the Ace Hotel in Palm Springs for a bachelorette weekend away. If you’ve never been to Palm Springs, imagine being put into a blazing hot oven, but there’s a pool. I think it was 114 degrees when we were there and barely a drop of shade. The heat just emanates off of every surface. This may not sound like a very good weekend to you, but with nothing else to do but lounge in the pool, it somehow all equals up to be one of the most relaxing weekends you can have. On our last morning there, we got breakfast by the pool and their “Poblano Cheddar Grits” caught my eye. I knew I was in trouble after my first bite–I so carefully savored every tiny morsel that all of my friends actually left me at the table to go pack instead of watch me lick the bowl of this rich, flavorful, new favorite breakfast.
Back home, weeks later, I was still dreaming about the grits. A trip back to the Ace was not in the question, so I went about trying to recreate them. Searching for a recipe for White Cheddar Grits on Google actually brought up a recipe from a great restaurant in Atlanta, The Flying Biscuit. Their Creamy Dreamy White Cheddar Grits are pretty famous and I was delighted to have a recipe from such a familiar place close to home to start as the basis of my recipe–they’re heavily decadent and snow white unlike any other grits recipes I’ve seen. I quickly researched roasting techniques for some Poblano Peppers and voila! Bacon is a requirement to crumble over the top (I’ve got some amazing Apple Cider-Maple Glazed Bacon for you on Friday) and I really can’t imagine a better breakfast. Thanks to the Ace Hotel for introducing me to one of the recipe loves-of-my-life.
- 2 poblano chile peppers
- 3 cups water
- 1 cup half-and-half
- 1.5 teaspoons kosher salt
- heaping 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
- 1 cup quick grits
- 1/2 – 1 cup grated white cheddar cheese (to taste–1 cup is very cheesy) (I prefer mild white cheddar cheese over sharp)
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed
- Roasting poblanos can happen one of two ways: first, rub with olive oil, then grip them tightly in a pair of tongs and hold over your gas burner’s flame, turning until all sides are blackened and bubbly. Only attempt this if you have metal tongs (my plastic coated ones may or may not be slightly melted now). The other method involves rubbing them with olive oil, then placing in your oven set to broil, turning every few minutes until all sides are blackened and bubbly. Either way, once blackened, put the peppers into a paper bag while you make the grits–they’ll sweat in there and the skin will be super easy to remove later. Also good to note: the oven method will result in softer peppers in your grits, the gas burner method will result in slightly more crunchy peppers.
- In a medium-large saucepan, bring the water, half and half, and salt to a boil.
- Slowly pour the grits in, whisking the entire time. Lower heat and let thicken 7-10 minutes, whisking frequently.
- While the grits are cooking, take the peppers and remove the outer burned skin so all you have left is the soft pepper flesh underneath. Remove the seeds and ribs and slice into strips and then 1″ pieces. If you prefer, you could roughly chop for smaller pieces.
- Stir the cheese into the grits until melted, then stir in the butter until also melted and smooth.
- Add the poblano pieces and stir gently in. Taste to see if you want more salt or a little more white pepper.
- Serve with some delicious crispy bacon to crumble on top and enjoy!