Ok folks, it’s time to make some ancho chile sauce!
Ancho chiles have been the missing ingredient to our Mexican inspired meals. We eat a lot of tacos & tostadas in our house! We happen to live in a city that produces amazing tortillas and tostada which are freshly available in practically every corner store and market. So, we absolutely take advantage of that convenience. Corn tortillas are basically the perfect delivery system… I could go on, but we’re not talking about tortillas right now. This is all about the sauce.
- 4 oz dried ancho chile (about 6 chiles or a 4 oz bag full)
- 1 cup reserved cooking liquid (may use less)
- 1 cup vegetable stock
- 3 small garlic cloves crushed (or 6 roasted garlic cloves for a more subtle affect)
- 2 Tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 Tablespoon sugar
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon crushed oregano
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt (or to taste)
- a few turns of freshly ground black pepper
- Rehydrate the dried anchos: place anchos in medium sized pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil for a couple minutes. Remove from heat and cover for about 20 minutes. You will notice the skin separating from the pepper flesh and they will appear hydrated when ready.
- Remove anchos from the pot. Reserve at least one cup of the cooking liquid.
- Prepare the hydrated peppers by removing the skin, stem, and seeds. Place the pepper flesh in a blender. You may consider wearing gloves while handling the peppers if your skin is sensitive to spice.
- Add stock, garlic, spices, black pepper, salt, tomato paste, sugar and oil to the blender and pulse until smooth.
- Add reserved cooking liquid ¼ cup at a time and blend to reach the desired consistency. I usually end up adding about ¾ cups.
- Taste, adjust your salt level if necessary and enjoy your new sauce!
Additional Notes below…
This recipe is based around 4 oz of ancho chiles because that is the size pack that is most readily available to me. Each 4 oz pack generally contains 5-7 ancho chiles of varying sizes. You can easily adjust the recipe to accommodate different amounts of chiles by adjusting the amount of liquid blended in at the end to reach the desired consistency.
When you begin to bring your anchos to to a boil, you’ll notice they all float to the top of the water. Try to rotate them and submerge each chile throughout the hydration process. Allow them to boil for a minute or two. Remove from heat and cover for an additional 20 minutes, checking that all chiles have had a chance to soak in the warm water. As they become rehydrated they will expand and the skins will begin to separate from the flesh.
Remove the peppers from the sauce pan and set aside about one cup of the cooking liquid. For this recipe, I generally use about 3/4 cups of this liquid in addition to the stock. But it’s best to hang on to some extra juice in case you want to thin out your sauce a bit in the end.
Get rid of the stems and seeds. You can add some seeds for extra spice, although you probably won’t need to! The flavors and spice these smoky peppers deliver is intensely delicious.
Remove as much of the skin as possible. It will often easily peel off, however at times it may be a slight challenge as the flesh of these peppers is rather thin and sometime the skin just wants to hang on. Try using a pairing knife to gently scrape it away from the skin. It’s not a huge deal if you can’t get it all, I just prefer to remove it so the texture of the sauce is as smooth as possible.
Add all of the peppers to the blender along with the vegetable stock, tomato paste, garlic, sugar, salt, olive oil, black pepper, and spices. Blend until smooth and creamy. Slowly add the reserved cooking liquid 1/4 cup at a time, blend until the sauce is the right consistency. Give it a taste to determine if it requires an extra dash of salt.
Store and refrigerate in an air tight container for up to 3 weeks. The smoky spicy flavor of this sauce is so delicious that you will not have it around that long. We found a way to incorporate it into basically every meal. You can use it in place of any hot sauce. It’s great with chips, on tacos, eggs, huevos rancheros, tofu, enchiladas, sandwiches, basically anything goes.
I’ll have to put up some recipe inspiration to get you hungry for this sauce. In the meantime, go pick up some anchos and make yourself some delicious chile sauce!