Ancho BBQ Sauce… or is it Chutney?

September 1st, 2015 No Comments



It’s kind of a chutney, kind of a móle, kind of a ketchup…don’t let the label inhibit you.  It’s tasty and it goes well with warm things, that’s the most important thing to remember.


Anchos are dried Poblano peppers.  They generally have only the mildest of heat, but exhibit a rich depth that is almost sweet and even fruit-like.  Scott and I sometimes use them puréed in chocolate cakes as a secret ingredient to give a bit of warmth but without overpowering the experience.  The purée can be made into a móle, or added to other dishes like soups (chili or black bean in particular), cream sauces, casseroles, mashed potatoes and of course enchilada sauce.




You can find anchos at Mexican mercados, some grocery stores or co-ops, and online.

It’s easiest to remove the stem and seeds before rehydrating.  The seeds hold most of the heat so if you’re wanting a little more picante spice…leave in a few seeds.






Rehydrate the peppers by soaking in hot water.  Be careful not to take a deep whiff of the steam…even though they’re a relatively mild chile, they still contain capsaicin (the compound in spicy peppers that burns so good) which is released into the air via steam and will do a number on your lung tissue when inhaled.

While your at it, after handling the peppers wash your hands with soap and water to remove the spicy capsiacum from your hand before it makes it’s way into your eyes when you rub them without thinking what a stupid thing that was to do.  But maybe some lessons just need to be learned….




Something acidic with something sweet and other aromatics mixed in—it is a delicious muck that is sweet and sour, fruit with savory, pungent.  Whether you call this a BBQ sauce or a Chutney, maybe the title depends on how you use it or where it is served or with what it is served.  I recently served this at a wedding (thus the massive pile of peppers) with grilled chicken, roasted sweet potatoes, roasted vegetable salad, and a green salad.


I do know it would be good with:

  • Grilled chicken, pork or lamb
  • Crackers with cream cheese or brie cheese
  • A scone
  • In a sandwich
  • Mixed with mayonnaise, crème fraîche or sour cream
  • On warm squash or roasted potatoes
  • Mixed into a salad with chopped chicken, apples and cashews
  • Dolloped onto a bowl of curried or chicken soup
  • Made into a móle or enchilada sauce



Ancho BBQ Sauce

Prep Time: 30-45 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes


Soak in hot water for about 30 minutes:

4-6 dried Ancho Peppers, with seeds and stems removed—it’s easier to do this when they are still dry

When fully rehydrated, chop finely or puree.


Sauté in a sauce pan:

2 Tablespoons Oil

2 clove Garlic, minced

1/2 cup Onion, minced (1 small onion)

When onions are translucent, add:

2/3 cup Ancho puree

2/3 cup Tomato Paste

1/2 cup Raisins

1/2 cup Brown Sugar

1/2 cup Cider Vinegar

1/2 teaspoon Allspice, ground

1/8 Clove, ground

Salt and Pepper to taste.

Simmer for 15-20 minutes.  

Serve with grilled chicken or grilled vegetables, or whatever sounds good. 




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