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.
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.
1 Tbsp lard or vegetable oil
1 ancho chile, wiped clean, stemmed, and seeded
1 1/2 tsp coarse salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2/3 cup water
1 cup masa harina
1/4 lb panela cheese, grated
2 Tbsp finely chopped fresh epazote or oregano
vegetable oil for frying
6 Tbsp grated Romano cheese
6 Tbsp minced red onion
Red salsa for dipping
Heat the lard in a small skillet over low heat. Saute the ancho for 1 to 2 minutes, until slightly softened. With a slotted spoon, transfer to a blender, along with 1 tsp of the salt, the pepper, and water. Puree until smooth.
In a large bowl, combine the masa with the chile puree. Knead to blend well. To test the consistency, flatten a small ball of dough between your palms. If the edges crack, add water, a tablespoon at a time, until a test piece does not crack. Set aside, covered, at room temperature, for 1 hour for the flavors to develop, or refrigerate up to a week.
Mix together the panel cheese, epazote, and the remaining 1/2 tsp salt for the filling.
To stuff, break off tablespoons of the dough and roll between your palms to form small balls. Roll or press each between two sheets of plastic wrap into 4-inch round tortillas. Place 1 Tbsp of the cheese mix on one side of each tortilla. Fold the dough to enclose, then press the edges together to seal. Pat the stuffed tortilla between your palms to flatten evenly to about 1/4-inch thick.
Heat a large cast-iron skillet or griddle over medium heat and lightly coat the bottom with oil. Cook the huaraches 1 to 2 minutes per side, until golden all over. (Huaraches may be made in advance and set aside for the final frying.)
Add about 1 1/2 inches of vegetables oil to a large cast-iron skillet and heat until almost smoking. Fry the huaraches about 30 seconds per side, until lightly browned but not crisp. Drain briefly on paper towels.
Arrange the huaraches on a platter and sprinkle with the Romano cheese and red onion. Serve immediately, with red salsa for dipping. (Finished huaraches may be reheated in a hot oven for 3 to 4 minutes.)
Makes 12 huaraches. May be served topped with a fried egg as a breakfast dish.
From Cooking With Two Hot Tamales, by Milliken and Feniger.