Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Ancho chile paste

I have a new weapon in the winter stew arsenal.

The other night, preparing to make hamburgers, I decided to liven them up a bit with anchos. Anchos are dried poblano peppers. Their seeds are hot but the actual pepper reminds me of raisins, in a smoky way.

I reconstituted two anchos in boiling water, adding to the water eight garlic cloves in their husks, and kept this all at a simmer till the garlic was tender. After removing the garlic skins, the rough little end bits, and the stem and some seeds from the pepper, I pureed them. The result was this dark paste, which I seasoned with salt. Smoky, slightly sweet, rich. Each burger got a schmear of this before it was packed into its bun, and there was plenty left over.

So - last night's lamb neck stew benefited. Lamb neck isn't as frightening as it sounds - it's just the small chops from very high up. Far from the loin chops both in anatomy and in price. At $3.99 a lb as opposed to $18.99 there is no contest. Excellent for slow cooking.

With  a base of tomato paste, carrots and celery, and the addition of a couple of spoonfuls of the ancho paste and a slosh of red wine, it was wonderful.
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