Mexico is the center of origin, domestication and diversification of the Capsicum annuum
chile variety; these plants are woody-stalked and shrub-like. Their flowers are usually white, sometimes greenish. Fruits vary in size, color and flavor, depending on soil type, climate, etc.
chile corresponds to this species. The name likely comes from their having first been grown in various valleys located in the state of Puebla. They are also the key ingredient to an emblematic Puebla dish: chiles en nogada
. In numerous traditional Mexican regional cuisines, the poblano
is the stuffed chile, fresh or dried, par excellence
Poblanos feature an elongated conical shape; their size ranges from 8 to 15 centimeters; fresh they are dark green (lighter green in some varieties); they redden or blacken when ripe. The fruits have a subtly spicy flavor that becomes spicier at certain times of the year, according to Dr. Janet Long. It is one of the most widely eaten chiles in Mexico, largely in the Central Highlands.
The greatest fresh poblano chile production takes place in the Northern Highlands (Chihuahua) as well as the Central Highlands. Prime season runs from January to February and from May to October.
Mexicans use roasted poblanos, skin and seeds removed, and cut into strips called rajas, to fill tacos and tamales or as an ingredient in stews; ground they are used in sauces, as a base or to season chileatoles, broths, soups, rice, pasta or stews; cut open they are stuffed.
In Chihuahua, poblanos undergo a unique conservation process. First the chiles are roasted to remove the skin, then they are left to dry in the sun. This variety is known as chile pasado and plays a major role in the local cuisine.
Ancho chiles are a variety of poblano that take on a deep red color when ripe. Dried, they retain this shade or even darken slightly.
Anchos are produced and consumed in the Central Highlands, particularly as a base for salsas, soups, stews, adobos and some of the region’s most renowned moles; they can also be stuffed.
Mulato chiles are a a variety of poblano that turn blackish brown when they ripen; their color intensifies when they are dried.
Mulatos are eaten in dishes that are similar to those made with anchos. Importantly, however, though both varieties come from poblanos, they are not interchangeable in terms of flavor or color.