Variety of peppers with yellow background
Food - Drink
What Is An Ancho Chile And How Spicy Is It?
Mexican cuisine uses 64 varieties of peppers, which go into everything from salsa to hot chocolate, and while fresh peppers are sometimes used, dried peppers are actually more popular. Some fresh peppers even have different names once they're dried, such as the the beloved and ever-popular ancho chile.
An ancho, meaning "wide" in Spanish, is actually a dried poblano pepper, and has a dark red hue compared to its fresh green counterpart. Poblanos that will be turned into anchos are matured to a bold red color before drying, and while they're just as popular as the widely-used árbol and guajillos chilies, anchos are less spicy.
Anchos have a Scoville ranking of 500-3,000, as well as a rich, fleshy body, appealing color, and strong flavor that make them easy to integrate into foods. These chilies have a raisin-like sweet and earthy quality along with some smokiness, coffee-like rich bitterness, and just a dollop of heat, and are usually rehydrated before cooking.
Rehydration involves soaking anchos in hot water for up to 30 minutes, but you can toast the chilies in an oven or skillet instead to bring out their flavor. Ancho chilies shine in beef chili, pozole, chile colorado, and various sauces, and while the best place to buy them is a Mexican market or grocery store, they're also available online.