Red Enchilada Sauce

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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4 oz whole dried New Mexico or Ancho chiles
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 tsp ground cumin
2 cups beef or chicken stock
2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
2 small cans tomato paste
1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
Sea salt


Clean the dried chiles by removing the stem and seeds. Be sure to wear rubber gloves for this process and be careful not to touch any part of your face.

Meanwhile, sauté onion in olive oil. Add cumin and cook, stirring constantly, until well amalgamated into the oil. Add stock and chiles, bring to a boil, skim and reduce heat to a simmer. Whisk in garlic, vinegar, and tomato paste. Simmer, covered, for about 45 minutes. Pass the sauce through a food mill. Season to taste.

From “Nourishing Traditions” by Sally Fallon.