Learn About Pasilla Chiles

Author: Chef Toby

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What are Pasilla chiles?

A Pasilla chile is a dried Chilaca pepper that is very popular in Mexico. It is dark brown or black in color, with a wrinkly, dried out exterior. These peppers can measure eight to ten inches in length and can be used whole or ground into a powder for seasoning. This pepper is considered to be one of the most important peppers to Mexican cooking, along with Ancho and Guajillo peppers.

What do Pasilla chiles taste like?

Pasilla peppers have a smokey taste and earthy flavor. The heat in pasilla peppers can vary and are usually mild with a few that will occasionally be spicier. Compared to a jalapeno pepper, Pasilla chile peppers are not as spicy.

Learn About Pasilla Chiles

How can you eat Pasilla chiles?

In Mexican cooking, Pasilla chile is very popular in moles and salsas. It also works well in seafood, poultry, and lamb dishes. It can be used ground as a seasoning or be rehydrated in water or broth for other uses

Where can you buy Pasilla chiles?

Pasilla chiles can be found in most grocery stores, either next to the fresh produce or in the Mexican section of the grocery store, usually in the international aisle. Mexican grocery stores are another place to find these peppers if you cannot find them at the supermarket.

How do you store Pasilla chiles?

Since pasilla peppers are dried, they have a long shelf life similar to other dried foods, like spices. Pasilla chiles should be stored in an airtight container inside of your pantry or cupboard. They can also be stored in the freezer. Peppers will stay fresh up to a year but should be used within 6 months for optimal flavor.

Fun Fact about Pasilla chiles:

The word pasilla translated to English means “little raisin.”

Did you know?

Pasilla pepper is also known as chile negro, which means “black chile”.

Recipes Using Pasilla Chiles:

Pasilla Spice Rub

Using a spice grinder, make a spice blend perfect for adding a warm, peppery flavor to poultry or pork. Grind dried Pasilla chiles until pulverized and combine with ground cumin, oregano, sea salt, garlic, and onion powder.

Garlic and Pasilla Chile Soup

Let the chile shine in a soup made with pasilla peppers, onions, garlic, and tomato. Season the soup mixture with salt, pepper, and Mexican oregano, and blitz in the blender or with an emersion blender. To mellow out the intense chile flavor, top the soup with sour cream, cilantro, and avocado. Additionally, top with croutons or crispy corn tortilla strips for texture.

Chipotle and Pasilla Chili and Meat Soup

For an added kick to your regular homemade chili, add in a tablespoon of dried pasilla chili powder and chipotle powder to make this hearty, warm stew. The chiles complement the rich flavor of the beef and buttery texture and mildness of beans and tomatoes. Serve the chili with shredded cheddar, avocado, green onions, and sour cream.

Mexican Tortilla Soup

This classic Mexican soup calls for toasting a pasilla chile in a dry pan till fragrant and blending with tomatoes, onions, and garlic. In a large stockpot, the mixture is combined with chicken stock and chicken breasts and simmered until the chicken is cooked and tender. Ladle the soup over fried tortilla strips and serve with Monterey jack cheese, cilantro, and avocado.

Slow Cooker Chili Colorado

This recipe uses a blend of pasilla, guajillo, and ancho chiles to make a sauce to braise chunks of beef. The chiles are toasted, soaked, and blended with beef broth, and poured over seared cubed beef in a slow cooker to make the meat tender. If you don’t have any beef broth on hand, use beef bullion and water to make some in a pinch.


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