Garlic-Ancho Chile Jam

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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2 medium heads garlic, left whole
3 Tbsp. olive oil
2 oz. dried ancho chiles, stems, seeds and veins
2 Tbsp. cider vinegar
2 Tbsp. mild honey


Preheat oven to 400F.

Cut off and discard the tops of the garlic heads to expose the cloves and rub each head with 1/2 Tbsp. of oil. Wrap the heads together in foil and bake in the middle of the oven until tender, about 45 minutes. Cool to warm.

While the garlic is roasting, toast the chiles in a dry heavy skillet over moderate heat, turning, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Soak the chiles in hot water until softened, about 20 minutes, then drain.

Squeeze the garlic from the skins into a food processor and purée with the chiles, vinegar, honey, remaining 2 Tbsp. of oil, and salt to taste. Force the purée through a sieve into a bowl.

Makes about 1 cup.

Recipe from Gourmet Magazine, October 2002.