The original recipe calls for 8 ancho chilies but we had 3 enormous ones and altered the measurements accordingly. You'll need either 3 gigantic ancho chilies or 5 smaller ones. Toast the chilies lightly in an iron skillet over a medium flame; in a pinch, a non-stick skillet will suffice. Turn the chilies frequently so they don't burn, pressing down on them as they soften. This takes about 5 minutes. We've added another step which is to then remove the pan from the stove and add 1 cup or so of water. Cover and let rest for 10-15 minutes to allow the chilies to soften further. When cool enough to handle, remove stems and seeds from chilies.
Cut each chile into longish thin strips with a pair of scissors and add to a small mixing bowl. Add: 1/2 onion (minced), 2-3 cloves garlic (minced), 1/4 cup olive oil, 1/4 cup red wine or apple cider vinegar (both work well) and at least 1/4 t. salt. Stir everything together and let rest for 2 hours before serving.
Traditionally crumbled white cheese is added moments before eating but it's still superb without. If you want it, use a couple of tablespoons of queso fresco.
|Carefully roasting ancho chilies in a dry cast iron skillet enhances their smokey, complex flavors.|
|A quick soak softens the chilies further.|
|The chilies have softened and darkened slightly as above, after soaking and draining.|
|Seeding the chilies is a messy but necessary step. Best to do it over the sink!|
|Ancho Chile Relish|
|Of course Cafe Drake HRV loves cerveza with Mexican food but this one went into our pinto beans.|
|above two photos: ancho chile relish with warm corn tortillas, queso fresco, roasted chicken thighs, salsa cruda, beer-braised pinto beans and radishes|
|Slightly longer cooking times and high temperatures help ensure a crispy, deep golden skin on roasted chicken. Bone-in chicken thighs are Cafe Drake HRV's preferred piece of poultry, being almost impossible to dry out.|