Pasilla de Oaxaca

Maybe the price was too high but I belive I really did buy high quality Chile Pasilla de Oaxaca in the Comsatti outdoor market. Our young yawning merchant had a friendly manner and did not seem to be a thief. And I have read in more then a few places that passilla de Oaxaca is sold by the piece ( 100 count ) rather then by weight. Still I paid too much(4 pesos for five) that first day and bought dozens of them for 14 pesos at the Reforma indoor market.

Today I decided to make the five I had bought earlier into a paste to mix into other dishes and possbly combine with cumin, celantro, oregano, and lime juice and smear of some chicken to be grilled the next day. Also a few of these smoky gems will find their way into a salsa verde in the next few days.

  1. First off, then chiles need to be seeded, and cleaned

  2. Then we need to toast the chiles. Sometimes I do this in the oven but today I am using a cast iron skillet to toast them on the stove top. The idea is to vaguely color the chiles, and release an aroma but not to darken or burn them

  3. Transfer them to a blender jar

    and blend till you have a rough paste. Adding a 1/4 cup of warm water will help

  4. Using a spoon, press the rough paste through a strainer till you have a very smooth paste. For greater quantities of chiles it is easier to use a food mill.

This last step is not 100% necassary. I myself do not mind the bits of skin and ribs left in the chili paste after the initial trip through the blender. I did in fact reserve those bits after I finished straining the paste and will incorporate them as I see fit into various dishes.

So while I was making this paste I decided I would devout this batch to a salsa. It would be a typical Salsa de Tomitillo but I have a feeling the pasilla de Oaxaca is going to muscle in and take over. This would not be a bad thing.

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