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 medium onion, very thinly sliced
pinch of turmeric
2 Tbsp. kosher salt
4 ancho chiles, stemmed and seeded
3 dried chipotle chiles, stemmed and seeded
1/2 tsp. ground coriander
1/2 tsp. ground caraway seeds
1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
pinch of cinnamon
3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
In a shallow bowl, toss the onion slices with the turmeric and salt. Cover the onion with plastic wrap and let stand overnight at room temperature.
Meanwhile, heat a cast-iron skillet until hot to the touch. Add the anchos and chipotles and toast over moderate heat, pressing lightly with a spatula until the chiles are very pliable and fragrant, about 1 minute. Transfer the chiles to a work surface and let cool completely, then tear them into 1″ pieces. In a spice grinder, coarsely grind the chiles.
Drain the onion slices in a strainer, pressing hard to extract as much liquid as possible. Transfer the onions to a food processor and pulse until pureed. Add the ground chiles, coriander, caraway, pepper and cinnamon and process to a paste. With the machine on, gradually add the olive oil and puree until fairly smooth.
Recipe by Tunisian Chef Abderrazak Haouari.