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Ingredient

Ancho Chiles

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What is it?

An ancho is a dried poblano chile. It has a mild to medium heat with a sweet fruity flavor with hints of cherry, prune, and fig. It’s used often in Mexican cooking, especially in mole (MOH-lay).

Don’t have it?

Substitute ground ancho chile powder or mulato chiles (which are a little less sweet and a little more smoky).

How to choose:

The best dried chiles are the ones that have been sun-dried and not commercially oven-dried, which can make them bitter. Look for whole, not broken pods, with a uniform color. They should be be tough but still a little flexible. Be aware the dried chiles are often mislabled. An ancho chile is wider and more squat then a pasilla or New Mexico chile and is slightly translucent as opposed to opaque.

How to prep:

Pull off or cut off the stems and scrape out the seeds. Dried chiles can be crumbled or ground and added right to a dish. Or toast them lightly in a little hot oil in a skillet to intensify their flavor. If pureeing dried chiles for sauce, rehydrate them first by soaking them (toasted or untoasted) in boiing water for a half hour or so.

How to store:

Dried chiles will keep for months in a cool, dry place, though they may become more brittle over time.

Cross Reference

poblano; ancho chile powder

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