Marinated Ancho Chiles

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.

Suggested Use:
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.

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4 cups water
1 1/2 cup cider vinegar
4 ounces Piloncillo or 1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
5 cloves
8 Allspice berries
8 black peppercorns
8 large garlic cloves, peeled
4 ounces Ancho chiles (about 8 chiles)


Place all ingredients, except the chiles, in a heavy medium saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and cook uncovered for 20 minutes, until somewhat reduced.

While marinade is reducing, look over the chiles. If they are very brittle, place them in a steamer basket or platform and steam in a tightly covered saucepan over boiling water just long enough to make them slightly flexible.(Alternatively, wet the chiles slightly and place them in a plastic bag. Microwave on full power for 30 to 40 seconds.)

With a small sharp knife, make a small lengthwise slit (about 1 1/2 inches) in each chile and carefully remove the seeds and veins, taking care not to split the chile any further. Rinse under cold running water, drain, and add to the boiling marinade. Cook one to three minutes until the chiles are soft but not falling apart. The exact timing will vary according to the age and condition of the chiles. Place the chiles and marinade in a nonreactive bowl or container (stainless steel, glass,earthenware)and let stand at room temperature for at least three hours or preferably overnight. You can drain the chiles and serve them as they are (no need to remove the spices) or stuff them with different fillings, such as beef, pork, or chicken Picadillo, or shredded cheese mixed with scallions.

Serves 4.

From Chef Du Jour show.