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What Is Guajillo Chile Salsa?
Guajillo chile salsa is a Mexican sauce made from dried guajillo chiles. Guajillos are large, thin chiles have bright red skin and a mild kick with some natural sweetness and a touch of earthy flavor. The flavor profile of these chile peppers is rich, tannic, and slightly smoky. In Mexican grocery stores, you’ll see them labeled “chile guajillo” or “chile cascabel ancho.”
How to Use Guajillo Chile Salsa
Guajillo salsa is a staple in Mexican cuisine, and you can use it to add bittersweet chile flavor and medium heat. Here are some ways to serve guajillo salsa:
- With chips: Guajillo makes for a delicious appetizer with homemade tortilla chips. Try serving with a variety of salsas, such as tomatillo-jalapeño salsa and pico de gallo (just tomato, white onion, and cilantro), so you can taste the difference between the condiments. Another great use for tortilla chips and guajillo salsa is with chilaquiles.
- On enchiladas: Ditch the canned enchilada sauce and try guajillo chile sauce instead. Make a guajillo sauce using the method below, but keep the texture on the thicker side.
- As a marinade: Use a thicker version of guajillo chile salsa to marinate meats for tacos, tamales, and burritos.
- In mole sauce: Mole is a complex, spicy sauce made from a mix of different dried chiles, including guajillo and other dried peppers such as pasilla chiles, mirasol chiles, and chiles de árbol.
Guajillo Chile Salsa Recipe
Prep Time15 min
Total Time30 min
Cook Time15 min
- 16 dried guajillo chiles
- 4 garlic cloves
- Kosher salt, to taste
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- Remove the stems and seeds of the dried chiles and set a cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. When the pan is hot, add the chiles to the dry skillet and toast until fragrant, about 20 seconds per side.
- Transfer toasted chiles to a saucepan and add garlic cloves. Pour hot water over the chiles to cover and simmer until softened, about 10 minutes.
- Transfer chiles and garlic to a food processor or blender. Reserve cooking liquid. Add kosher salt, cumin, and Mexican oregano to season. Blend until smooth, adding cooking liquid until salsa reaches desired consistency. (Keep in mind that the sauce will thicken in the next step.)
- Heat vegetable oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the chile puree and cook, stirring, until the salsa has thickened and flavor has deepened. Adjust seasoning if needed.
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