I have been trying to find a simple yet truly tasty ancho chile sauce. I’ve made chile sauce with mostly chiles (either whole or powdered) and I don’t like the flavor as much as when the anchos are paired with tomatoes. The sweetness of the tomatoes mellows out the anchos. I’m not sure it has enough “ancho-ness” yet but it’s still a tasty sauce. I think it would be great on chilaquiles, fish, chicken, pork, eggs, or as a red sauce for enchiladas.
Anchos are not very spicy chiles and there aren’t enough of them vs. tomatoes to make this spicy at all. They lend a nice flavor without the heat.
I’ve simplified the typical recipe by using canned tomatoes but I still used the classic method of charring the onions and garlic rather than sautéing them.
Ancho Chile Tomato Sauce
(makes about 4 cups)
2 dried ancho chiles, seeds and stems removed
boiling water, about 1 1/2 cups
2 cloves garlic, unpeeled
2 medium onion, sliced in 4 fat slices each, longitudinally
1 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes in juice, undrained
1 8 oz. can tomato sauce
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
Heat a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Toast the ancho chiles until fragrant. Place in a bowl and cover with boiling water. Set aside.
Place the garlic and onion slices in the skillet and toast. The onions should be very brown to nearly charred and the garlic should have dark brown spots on the skin. Remove from the skillet. Peel the garlic. Chop garlic and onion coarsely.
Wait another 30 minutes to finish making the sauce so that the chiles have time to rehydrate. They should be very soft so they puree nicely in the blender.
Place the chiles, water, onions, garlic, and diced tomatoes in a blender. Puree until there are no large chunks of anything. Pour it all into a medium saucepan. Add the tomato sauce, olive oil, honey, red wine vinegar, and salt. Bring to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes, or until the sauce thickens.
Sauce can be frozen.