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.
6 Tbsp. vegetable oil
6 large garlic cloves, peeled
8 oz. of hazelnuts with skin
1-1/2 large ripe plantains, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch-thick rounds
1-1/2 pounds Red Delicious apples, peeled, quartered, cored
1 medium-size white onion, thickly sliced
13 dried guajillo chiles, stemmed, cut open, seeds and veins removed
3 dried ancho chiles, stemmed, cut open, seeds and veins removed
3/4 cup prunes
7 whole cloves
6 whole allspice
1/2 tsp. coriander seeds
1/2 tsp. aniseed
1/2 tsp. cumin seeds
1 cinnamon stick, broken in half
two 5-6-inch corn tortillas
9 cups low-salt chicken broth
2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
Heat the oil in a large deep nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic to the skillet and sauté for 2 minutes, then using a slotted spoon, transfer the garlic to large bowl. Add the hazelnuts to the skillet and sauté them until they become golden in color, about 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the nuts to the bowl with the garlic. Add the plantains to the skillet and sauté until they turn light golden, about 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the plantains to the same bowl. Add the apples and sauté until they begin to soften, about 5 minutes, then using a slotted spoon, transfer the apples to the same bowl. Sauté the onion until golden, about 3 minutes and transfer them to the same bowl (no oil will should remain in the skillet).
Working in batches, sauté a few chiles at a time in same dry skillet, 10 seconds per side, then transfer them to the same bowl. Sauté the prunes for about 2 minutes and transfer to the same bowl. Add all the spices to the skillet and stir for about 30 seconds, then transfer to the same bowl.
Using a pair of tongs, turn the tortillas over a gas flame or in dry skillet over medium-high heat until black spots begin to appear on both sides, about 1 minute. Crumble the tortillas into the same bowl and add 9 cups of broth to the bowl. Press down on all the ingredients to submerge them and let them soak for about 20 minutes.
Working in batches, puree the contents of the bowl in a blender, adding more broth by 1/4 cupfuls if needed, until almost the mixture is smooth. Transfer the mixture to a large heavy pot and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer the mole for 1 hour and 45 minutes, stirring often and adding more broth by 1/4 cupfuls as needed to prevent scorching. (The mole will be very thick and will measure about 8 cups.) Stir in the vinegar and season the mole generously with some salt. (Can be made 4 days ahead. Cover and chill.)
Recipe by Roberto Santibañez, from the December 2005 issue of Bon Appetit Magazine.