Ancho Chile Salsa


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Ancho Chile Salsa

2 1/2 cups
3.0 6
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Ingredients (12)

  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1/2 medium onion, cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 3 small garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
  • 2 dried ancho chiles, seeded and torn into pieces
  • 3 dried guajillo or California chiles, seeded and torn into pieces
  • 2 Roma tomatoes, cored seeded, and roughly chopped
  • 4 large green tomatillos, husks removed, washed, and roughly chopped
  • 2 cups water or basic vegetable broth
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt, plus more to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons fresh Mexican oregano, or 1 tablespoon dried (see note)
  • Fresh cilantro (12 sprigs), about 1/2 cup, stemmed and chopped


This mellow salsa is made with ancho chiles, which are dried poblano chiles. The chiles are prepared and cooked with tomatoes and tart tomatillos. This is a good all-around salsa that will enhance the flavor of almost any dish. A rich tomato flavor is important in this salsa, so when tomatoes are out of season, Jesús will often substitute good-quality canned tomatoes.

Note: Be sure to use Mexican oregano, which has a milder taste than Mediterranean varieties.

See Deborah Schneider preparing her ancho chile salsa in this CHOW Tip.

This recipe was featured as part of our Nacho Recipes photo gallery.


  1. 1In a 10-inch sauté pan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, and dried chiles, and cook, stirring often, for about 5 minutes, or until the onions are soft and you can smell the chiles.
  2. 2Add the tomatoes and tomatillos, reduce the heat slightly, and cook for another 10 minutes, stirring often.
  3. 3Add the water or stock, 1 teaspoon of salt, and pepper. Bring to a simmer over high heat, then reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for 20 minutes.
  4. 4Stir in the oregano, cool for a few minutes, puree the sauce in a blender until smooth, then stir in the cilantro.
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