Ancho chilies are the most commonly found large dried chilies in California. They are in fact the ripened and dried poblano chili, which is sometimes labeled “pasilla” in California. They are mild, with a full and complex flavor.
From the first days of the Santa Fe Bar & Grill in 1981, this puree was a mainstay in sauces. Make a lot at one time, for it will keep in a sealed jar in the refrigerator up to two weeks. It is also an excellent marinade for grilled fish.
Put the chilies in a bowl and add water to cover. Weight them with a plate so they are all submerged and let them soften overnight.
The next day, remove and discard the stems and seeds. Puree the flesh with the lime juice in a food processor and push through a fine-mesh sieve or food mill into a bowl. Whisk in the oil. Season to taste with salt.
© 1986 Jeremiah Tower. All rights reserved.