Ancho chiles

Ancho chile powder is one of my favorite cooking tools. There isn’t a piece of meat or fish that’s not improved by this stuff. I just made fajitas for dinner using ground ancho chile powder, olive oil and salt to season the veg. The flank steak got a marinade of olive oil, lime juice, about a head’s worth of crushed garlic and a generous rubbing of ancho chile powder.

I love it because it’s sweet and dark and intense and earthy. I taste sun and mystery and sugar and piquancy in there. It’s hard to use too much of it in anything. I crust it thickly on beef short ribs before slow-roasting and I mix it with turbinado sugar, kosher salt and a smidge of smoked Spanish paprika before to rub on any long-cooked piece of pork goodness. It’s fabulous under a spicy pecan crust on catfish. And there’s a real magic to a charred-edge onion with a sprinkle of ancho chile powder.

I highly recommend procuring some and snowing it down on whatever you’re making for dinner when you’re bored with whatever Italian-Japanese-French-Indian flavors you’ve hammered to death recently. I did and it made me and my family happy.

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