March 25, 2009 1:33 PM
The Ancho chile is a stellar ingredient in Mexican cuisine. It is probably the most used dried Chile throughout Mexico and no wonder why: Its flavor is unmatchable.
The Ancho is the Poblano Chile that has been ripened to a deep red and then dried. This concentrates the already exuberant and fruity flavors of the Poblanos (continue for more information and photo).
It is wide, chubby, wrinkled and very pliable, different from other dried chiles. It has a deep reddish brown skin, with a bit of shine, which sort of imitates its flavor as well. Deep and rich, sharp and fruity, it has a hint of bittersweet notes and a resemblance to the flavor of prunes. It is very mild in heat.
Ancho chiles can be easily found in grocery stores throughout the US. They are typically rinsed, seeded and then toasted and/or soaked or simmered in hot water.