Ancho-Fig Compote

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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1 small ancho chile
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1 lb moist dried figs, cut into 3/4-inch pieces
1 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1 Tbsp fresh thyme leaves


Soak the ancho in hot water until softened, about 10 minutes. Drain and pat dry. then discard the stem and seeds. Slice the chile into thin strips.

Heat the oil in a medium saucepan. Add the ancho and onion, cover and cook over moderately low heat until the onion softens, about 4 minutes. Add the figs and cook for 5 minutes, then add the water, vinegar and thyme and simmer for 30 minutes, or until the figs are tender and the compote has thickened.

Make Ahead
The compote can be refrigerated for up to 5 days.

Makes about 3 cups.

Recipe by Scott Howell,