Ancho Chile Pepper
Ancho Chile Pepper Stats
Scientific Name: Capsicum annuum
Other Names: mulato chile, black chile
Scoville Range: 1,000 - 1,500
Ancho Chile Pepper Origin and History
The ancho is a popular chile grown in Mexico made from dried poblano chiles. The pepper is harvested from a bush with multiple stems that can grow up to 25 inches tall. The word Ancho means wide, which refers to the flat heart shape that tapers to a point at the bottom of the poblano chile. Varieties of ancho include light brown and black mulato chiles.
The ancho chile is used in the symbolic Mexican dish known as Chiles en Nogada. This dish is served during Mexican independence holidays as part of a meal that incorporates the Mexican flag colors green, white and red.
Ancho Chile Pepper Description
The pod of the ancho begins as a dark purple and then ripens to a bright red color. When it is dried the color turns to blackish brown. The skin of the ancho has a smooth waxy texture but it is actually quite tough. The pepper has to be soaked longer than other chiles in order to soften the skin.
The ancho chile is sweet and slightly fruity like raisins. It smells a bit like prunes and has a mild to medium heat. Ancho chiles contain more pulp than other chiles. Anchos are commonly used to make Mexican style sauces.
Ancho Chile Pepper How to Serve or Use
Ancho is sold as a chile powder, a puree, and packaged as dried pods. It is a staple ingredient in red chile and tamales. They are often stuffed and fried with an egg coating. Ancho can also be used to make a paste for use as a marinade for meat or vegetables. The mellow flavor also makes it a favorite ingredient in salsa. Anchos can be made into a relish and used as a condiment for Mexican dishes. Dried anchos are also served crumbled over soup as a spicy and fruity garnish.
Anchos should be roasted and peeled before canning or preserving. Removing the skin improves the texture of the chile. They can be frozen in airtight containers for several months for up to one year. Most recipes call for soaking frozen or preserved anchos in hot water for half an hour before using.
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