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Ancho Chile Salsa

WebMD Recipe from

Total Time: 55 mins

Ancho Chile Salsa

This mellow salsa, made with dried ancho chiles, is a good all-purpose salsa. It’s delicious with anything from scrambled eggs to tostadas. A rich tomato flavor is important in this salsa, so when tomatoes are out of season, good-quality canned tomatoes may be a better choice than fresh. Adapted from Cooking with the Seasons at Rancho La Puerta: Recipes from the World-Famous Spa (Stewart, Tabori & Chang, 2008) by Deborah Szekely and Deborah M. Schneider with Chef Jesús González, Chef of La Cocina Que Canta.


  • 3 large dried guajillo, New Mexico or California chiles, (about 3/4 ounce; see Note)
  • 2 large dried ancho chiles, (about 3/4 ounce; see Note)
  • 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 medium onion, cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 3 small cloves garlic, chopped
  • 4 large tomatillos, (see Note), husks removed, washed and chopped
  • 2 plum tomatoes, seeded and chopped
  • 2 cups water, or vegetable broth
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano, or 1 tablespoon dried, preferably Mexican
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro


Step 1
Wearing gloves, remove the stems, seeds and inner ribs from the chiles and tear the chiles into large pieces.
Step 2
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the chile pieces, onion and garlic and cook, stirring often, until the chiles are fragrant and the onions are soft, 3 to 5 minutes. Add tomatillos and tomatoes, reduce heat slightly, and cook, stirring often, for 10 minutes more. Add water (or broth), salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer over high heat, then reduce heat to medium-low and cook for 20 minutes.
Step 3
Stir in oregano and let cool for a few minutes. Puree the sauce in a blender until smooth. (Use caution when pureeing hot liquids.) Stir in cilantro.


Notes: Mildly spicy dried chiles, such as ancho, guajillo, New Mexico, mulato and California chiles, are used to add moderate heat and a rich flavor to sauces, soups and stews. Find them in the produce section of large supermarkets or online at

Tomatillos are tart, plum-size fruits that look like small, husk-covered green tomatoes. Find them in the produce section near the tomatoes. Remove outer husks and rinse well before using.

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