Ancho Chile Sauce Misfired
Wondering if anyone can shed some light on "if" I went wrong and "where".
I made a sweet ancho chile sauce off the cuff last night to go with some pork (wanted something smokey but not bbq) and the flavor is VERY... raisin-y.
Took two dried anchos, boiled some water, soaked them for about 7 minutes. Removed stem and seeds. Then blended with a quarter cup of honey, a squeezed orange, some corriander, kosher salt and a small splash of cider vinegar.
Is the raisin taste due to me not preparing the ancho's properly or is it how the ingredients would come out?
I cook with fresh & dried peppers regularly; some of the other posters are right, anchos have a raisin like flavor. I make a sauce with a combination of anchos, chipotles (for smokiness) garlic & caramelized onion, cumin, oregano, s & p. Soak the peppers, add to a food processor with some of the soaking liquid and puree. Pour into a saucepan with a little sweetener, I use brown sugar and some apple cider vinegar; let it simmer for awhile and you can use it on everything.
If you haven't already fixed the sauce, I suggest adding more apple cider vinegar and some other pepper, chipotle would go well, some onions, garlic & cumin. Simmer until the flavors come together. This should balance out the raisin flavor.
I suggest making a basic ancho chile paste/sauce then adding the other ingredients 'to taste'.
Check out the video on this link for preparing a chile paste - dry roasting, soaking, pureeing, sieving and frying. All these stages are important (and much more work).
I also would suggest adding some roasted garlic
the flavor of ancho is fruity & sweet - not my first choice for what you were hoping to achieve. when i want *smoky* chile flavor i use chipotle.
the ingredients you used aren't balanced - all that sweetness you added to the already-sweet flavor of the peppers with the honey and OJ did you in. you can try to adjust the leftover sauce (if there is any) by blending in some tomato paste for acidity (and maybe adding a touch more vinegar). i'd also add toasted ground cumin, and if you want smokiness, smoked paprika. personally i also would have sauteed garlic & onion and blended those in as well.
Yup, the OP used the wrong chile pepper. Ancho is a dried poblano and is not smoked. Its got a mild heat and tastes raisiny so the results are not surprising. For a smokey pepper flavor, the OP should've used a chipolte which is a smoked jalapeno. Or to get smokey notes, I'd add smoked paprika but you'd also need another pepper to balance out the raisiny flavor from the ancho.
I am just gonna guess that the sweet elements in your chile ancho sauce overpowered everything. Maybe with all of that honey, plain vinegar and make sure your orange is slightly tart.
Remove seeds and stem from the dry chiles, then try either frying in a few drops of oil or dry roasting for a moment to toast but not blacken, then pour on the water and soak for 30 mins. You can also dry roast a very small clove of garlic until nicely softened and blistered and blend that in, too. That will add another element of flavor besides ancho, sweet, and sour.