The deep red-brown, wrinkled Ancho chile is the sweetest of the dried chiles. Ancho, meaning "wide," is the roasted, dried incarnation of the ripe red poblano pepper, and tastes sweet, a little fruity, and slightly hot [2500-3000 Scoville units], conjuring rich flavors of tobacco, prune and raisin.
Toasted and ground into powder, Ancho chile is a staple of Mexican cooking, a key ingredient in tamales, red chili, and enchilada sauce. Use Ancho to add flavor, color and zip to all kinds of sauces, or as a counterpoint to offset a honey glaze on meats. The Ancho chile, in concert with the Mulato and Pasilla chiles, form the mighty triumvirate of chiles used to prepare mole sauces.