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Recipe: Ancho Chile Sauce


Recipe: Ancho Chile Sauce
Dave Scantland
Ancho chiles are dried poblanos; they have a medium heat level and rich, deep flavor. If you can't find them, you can substitute other dried red chiles like New Mexico chiles. This makes a delicious enchilada sauce and can also be used for braising chicken or as a base for red chili.

Yield: 2 cups


  • 1 oz. dried ancho chiles (3 to 5 chiles)
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons agave syrup (or use sugar)
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar


1. Remove the stems and seeds from the chiles and tear or cut into wide strips.

2. Heat a small heavy skillet over medium heat. When hot, add chiles one or two pieces at a time and toast for a few seconds per side, until blistered and fragrant. (Use a small spatula to flatten the pieces of chile so they toast evenly.) Remove to a bowl and continue until all chiles are done.

3. Cover the chiles with very hot tap water (at least 2 cups; you'll probably need more), covering with a small plate to make sure chiles are submerged. Let them rehydrate for at least 20 minutes.

4. Remove the chiles from the water and place in a blender or food processor with 1-1/2 cups of the soaking water. Add remaining sauce ingredients and puree until very smooth. Adjust seasoning.

Sauce can be refrigerated for up to a week or frozen for several months.

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