Toasted Garlic Soup

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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1/4 cup olive oil
1 head garlic, cloves separated, peeled and coarsely chopped
1/2 baguette, cut crosswise into 1/4 inch thick slices, or 6 slices of other French bread
2 ancho chiles, stemmed, seeded and coarsely chopped
4 medium tomatoes, peeled and seeded, coarsely chopped into 1/2 inch chunks
7 cups of vegetable or chicken stock
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup sour cream

Heat oil in a heavy skillet until smoking. Add the garlic and stir over medium-high heat for 1 minute. Transfer the garlic to a large soup pot.

Add as many slices of the bread to the skillet as will fit in one uncrowded layer. Fry over medium heat for 1 minute, turning once, until lightly golden on each side. Transfer to paper towels to drain. Continue until all bread is fried. Set aside.

Place the chile peppers and tomatoes in the skillet and stir over medium-high heat for 1 minute until wilted. Transfer to the soup pot with the garlic. Add the stock and salt, bring to a boil and simmer for 20 minutes, or until the garlic is soft.

Ladle the soup into individual bowls. Garnish with fried bread and a dollop of sour cream.

Serves 4 to 6

Recipe by Victoria Wise.