Ancho-Cashew Mole Sauce

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.

Suggested Use:
Anchos are great in salsa, soups, enchilada and any sauce needing mild heat and chile flavor. Chopped, pureed or ground, they can be added directly to your recipes.

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7 dried ancho chiles
4 cups boiling water
1 cup chopped peeled tomato
1/4 cup sesame seeds
1/4 cup cashews, chopped
1 (6″) corn tortilla
1 pumpernickel bread slice, toasted
1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1/2 cup sliced onion, separated into rings
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 cup raisins
1 Tbsp. chopped pitted prunes
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground coriander
1/4 tsp. anise seeds, crushed
1/8 tsp. ground cloves
4 cups low-salt chicken broth, divided
1 tsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. salt


Remove the stems and seeds from the chiles, reserving 2 Tbsp. of seeds; discard the stems. Tear the chiles into large pieces, and place them in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook the chiles for 5 minutes or until they are thoroughly heated, turning the pieces occasionally (be careful not to burn the chiles). Combine the chiles and boiling water in a large bowl. Cover and let the chiles stand for 1 hour. Drain them, then combine the chiles and tomato in a large bowl; set aside.

Combine the sesame seeds and cashews in a skillet over medium heat. Cook them for 3 minutes or until the sesame seeds are lightly browned, shaking the skillet frequently. Add the reserved chile seeds and cook for an additional 2 minutes or until they are lightly browned. Add the sesame seed mixture to the tomato mixture in a bowl; set aside.

Place the tortilla in a skillet over medium heat. Cook for 3 minutes or until it is thoroughly heated. Tear the tortilla and toasted pumpernickel bread into large pieces and add them to the tomato mixture. Wipe the skillet clean with a paper towel.

Heat the oil in the skillet over medium heat and add the onion and garlic. Saute for 4 minutes or until the ingredients are tender. Add the raisins and the next 5 ingredients (raisins through cloves); cook for 2 minutes or until the raisins plump, stirring constantly.

Combine the raisin mixture, tomato mixture, and 1 cup of broth in a food processor and process until smooth. Press the mixture through a fine sieve into a bowl. Discard the solids. Combine the mixture and the remaining broth in a skillet. Bring the ingredients to a boil and reduce the heat. Simmer, uncovered, for 45 minutes or until the sauce has thickened, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and stir in the sugar and salt. Serve warm.

Note: Store the remaining Ancho-Cashew Mole Sauce in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week or freeze for up to 3 months.

Yields 4 cups (serving size: 1/4 cup).

Recipe from Cooking Light magazine.