This month we are featuring red Ancho Chilli from Mexico.
When translated, the word Ancho means ‘wide’ as this chilli is flat and heart shaped. Part of the Capsicum Annum family which is the most common and extensively cultivated chillies. Within this group, you will find Bell peppers, Jalapeno, Cayenne and Paprika.
As with many chillies, the Ancho’s name changes dependent on it’s stage of development. As they grow on the plant and are fresh, they are known as Poblano chillies. Once they are picked early and dried, the Poblano becomes an Ancho. If an Ancho remains on the plant and matures, this chilli is called a Mulato – not at all confusing!
Beautifully sweet and mildly hot chilli (3/10)– is the most commonly used in Mexico. Many Mexican recipes from salsa’s, sauces, dips, soups, stews as well as being the chilli of choice in chilli con carne, enchiladas, Adobado dishes and Rellenos (stuffed peppers). When the Ancho is combined with the Mulato and the Pasilla chillies it becomes ‘holy trinity’ of chillies used to prepare traditional Mexican mole sauces.
Over recent years, chefs and food writers have started to name chillies (yippee!) instead of saying ‘use a red one’ or ‘use a green one’. One the great advocates of naming chillies is Thomasina Miers of ‘Master Chef’ fame and co-founder of Wahaca in 2006.
She was using and naming Ancho is 2014 – see the link below
For something celebratory here is a vegetarian recipe using Ancho chilli from December 2019