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Thursday, June 30, 2011

Chile Paste

This chile paste is really versatile and will add that special something to your grilled or smoked meats.  It can be rubbed on beef or pork as a marinade before smoking or braising, and it's also a great addition to the masa for tamales to impart color and flavor.


2 dry guajillo peppers
3 dry pasilla peppers
1 dry ancho pepper

1/2 tablespoon annatto seeds
1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/8 teaspoon allspice berries
1/2 teaspoon coriander
3 cloves
1/8 teaspoon powdered cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1 tablespoon salt

3 cloves garlic
1 small white or yellow onion, roughly chopped
2 ounces (1/3 of a small can) tomato paste
1/4 cup juice of naranjas agrias (sour oranges) or a combination of orange and lime juice*

In a large skillet over medium heat toast the dry guajillo, pasilla, and ancho peppers, turning frequently, until they smell fragrant and start to puff.  Add enough water to the skillet to cover the peppers, and bring the water to a simmer.  Cover with a lid and turn off the heat.  Allow to cool until the peppers can be handled.

When you can comfortably handle the peppers, remove the stems and seeds.

While you're waiting for the chile peppers to cool, in a spice grinder or coffee grinder devoted to grinding spices, grind the annatto seeds, cumin seeds, allspice berries, coriander, cloves, cinnamon, oregano, and salt to a powder.

In a blender or food processor, grind the garlic, then add the onion, tomato paste, and sour orange juice and process to a paste consistency.  Add the ground spice mixture, and the guajillo, pasilla, and ancho peppers, and continue processing into a paste.

Refrigerate after preparing.

* The only place I've found around here that always has naranjas agrias is my favorite Carnival market at 3460 Webb Chapel Extension in Dallas.  You should be aware that naranjas agrias aren't pretty.  They kinda look like warty oranges.

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