Shrimp with Ancho Chiles and Garlic from the Border Grill

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Shrimp with Ancho Chiles and Garlic

Shrimp with Ancho Chiles and Garlic

Soak Chiles 20 mins   Prep 10 mins   Cook 10 mins   Eat 40 mins

If you’ve eaten at the Border Grill in Santa Monica, Downtown Los Angeles or in Las Vegas you may have stumbled across this dish. It is hard to miss the Sautéed Shrimp with Ancho Chiles, Slivered Garlic, Lime, Braised Greens and Rice. I’ve ordered it numerous times and when I go back, I want it again and again. In Las Vegas, they make it with Scallops. In the old days, they made it with rock shrimp, but those days appear to be long gone, as the cost of the rock shrimp has risen. Susan Feniger and Mary Sue Milliken are staples of the Los Angeles restaurant scene, and I’ve been a huge fan of theirs since the City Restaurant on La Brea and the first little Border Grill on Melrose. I’ve spent a lot of dough at their many restaurants over the years with my huge expense account while wining and dining clients for McCall’s and other magazines.

I recently met one of their former long-time employees who loved working with this duo, sometimes better known as the “Too Hot Tamales”. Gawd, I loved and miss that show. But thank you Mary Sue and Susan for all that you’ve given to the culinary world. And yes, this employee confirmed that they were great to work for and that the duo are happily still joined at the hip. Gotta love a success story like that!

We served the Sautéed Shrimp with Ancho Chile and Garlic with Swiss Chard laced with golden raisins, pine nuts and sherry at our Southwestern Fiesta class.

We served the Sautéed Shrimp with Ancho Chile and Garlic with Swiss Chard laced with golden raisins, pine nuts and sherry at our Southwestern Fiesta class.


Two years ago I was yearning for the Shrimp with Ancho Chiles and Garlic recipe to make at our Southwestern Fiesta Cooking Class and lucky me, I found it on their website, so here it is for you to make. Super easy. I don’t have the recipe for the greens, so you’ll have to figure that one out. If you want to learn how to make rice in a flash, click here.

After cooking the garlic, sautee the shrimp in the olive oil until it looks like this.

After cooking the garlic, sautee the shrimp in the olive oil until it looks like this.

One thing we learned when making this dish is how difficult it is to slice dried chiles into a julienne cut when your knife and knife skills are not top notch.  For safety reasons, I recommend soaking the ancho chiles in hot water for 20 minutes before attempting to cut in julienne slices.  Make sure everything is prepped before you begin the cooking process as it will go fast. Start with raw tail on shrimp. I buy the two-pound bag of 31-40 size from Costco. Cook shrimp until it looks like this picture – slightly undercooked and remove from pan with slotted spoon.

The shrimp team sprinkles parsley over the shrimp.

The shrimp team sprinkles parsley over the shrimp.

After cooking the chiles in the oil, add the shrimp back to the pan with the fish stock or clam juice.  Sprinkle lime juice and parsley over the top.

The final step to making the Sautéed Shrimp with Ancho Chiles and Garlic.

The final step to making the Sautéed Shrimp with Ancho Chiles and Garlic.

Give everything a final stir and bring to a boil to reduce and incorporate flavors.  Start to finish cooking will take about 10 minutes or less, once you get the hang of it.

The shrimp team is ready to serve the Shrimp with Ancho Chiles and Garlic.

The shrimp team is ready to serve the Shrimp with Ancho Chiles and Garlic.

The team at our Southwestern Fiesta Cooking Class did a beautiful job in preparing the Sautéed Shrimp with Ancho Chiles and Garlic.

The Sautéed Shrimp with Ancho Chiles and Garlic is delicious! Try it at the Border Grill and at home.

The Sautéed Shrimp with Ancho Chiles and Garlic is delicious! Try it at the Border Grill and at home.

The next time you are in the ‘hood of a Border Grill Restaurant, stop in and taste the Sautéed Shrimp with Ancho Chiles and Garlic, the original from Susan and Mary Sue. I promise you won’t be disappointed…and then go home and see if you can recreate it with this recipe.  It’s a great exercise in culinary adventure and cooking technique.

Print this Recipe

Sauteed Shrimp with Ancho Chiles and Garlic

This recipe was written by Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger, owners of the Border Grill Restaurant in 2012. I’ve cut the olive oil in half to reduce calories. For safety reasons, *I recommend soaking the ancho chiles in hot water for 20 minutes before attempting to stem, seed and cut in julienne slices.

3/8 cup olive oil
25  garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
1 3/4 pounds rock or medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
3 large *ancho chiles, wiped clean, stemmed, seeded and finely julienned
1 cup fish stock or clam juice
3 large limes, juiced
1 bunch Italian parsley, leaves only, chopped
2 cups + cooked white rice, held warm

1. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat.  Cook the garlic slices until tender, but not brown. (This will take one minute or less.)  Transfer with a slotted spoon to paper towels and reserve.

2. Turn the heat under the pan to high.  Quickly toss the shrimp with the salt and pepper in a bowl.  When oil is nearly smoking, add the shrimp.  Saute, stirring and shaking the pan to prevent sticking, 3 to 4 minutes or just until the shrimp are still slightly undercooked.  Remove from the heat.  With a slotted spoon, transfer the shrimp to a platter, leaving as much liquid as possible in the pan.

3. Return the pan to the burner and reduce the heat to medium.  Add the garlic slices and anchos and cook, stirring frequently, until the oil begins to turn orange from the chiles.  Stir in the fish stock or clam juice, along with the shrimp and any juice that has collected on the platter.  Add the lime juice and parsley, bring to a boil and remove from the heat. Serve immediately over white rice.

Servings: 4    665 calories per serving

Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 10 minutes
Inactive Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes

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