- In Depth
Derived from: Chilaca Chili
Origin: Calera, Zacatecas
Harvest: Oct - Nov
Character: Earthy and berry
Pair with: Tacos, mole, salsa, butter, chicken, pork, corn, beef, beans, onion, garlic, cumin, Mexican oregano, chocolate
Pasilla is made from a large and long chili variety called Chilaca which is dried after it reaches full maturity. During the drying time the taste changes significantly. The shell is thick, wrinkled but still shiny. Along with Ancho and Guajillo, Pasilla belongs what is usually referred to as "the holy trinity".
Pasilla means "little raisin" and of course there is sweetness, although not as noticeable as for Ancho. Instead you find more earthy and berry tones. Pasilla is quite meaty in its texture which means that it is often used to thicken sauces.
Our Pasilla chili is sourced from the state of Xacatecas, south of the city of Fresnillo, from a farm operated by Omar and his family. Here the dry cool climate is perfectly suited to grow many of the famous Mexican chilis with full sunlight, high temperatures and perfect rainfall in rainy season. It has been oven dried without smoke. During the drying time the taste changes significantly, one could compare it with grapes vs. raisins.
Always clean and toast the chili before use to wake up the flavors.
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First of all dry clean and cut of the stems of your Pasilla chilis. You can de-seed them but since they are very mild this is not necessary. Heat will help these chilis come back to life and develop that complex flavor so toast your chilis. Either in the oven at 200c for 1-2 minutes or 20-30 seconds in a hot pan on both sides.
From here you can either chop or grind the chilis if you want to use it in powdered form. If you with to puree the chili we recommend to cover the chilis in hot tap water and let them soak for 30 minutes. When this is done you can easily add them to sauces, salsa, moles or stews. The excess water can also be used but try it first and see how it fits your palate.
Due to its large size it is eaten like a ‘chile relleno’, ie stuffed whole with meat or vegetables. It is one of the cultural symbols of the southwestern food region of Oaxaca.
Our Pasilla is from our partner Omars family farm in the region of Calera in Xacatecas. Located on the Mexican plateau on the fringes of the Sierra Madre Occidental mountain range it offers the perfect climate for growing poblano, mirasol and chilaca chilis. The dry, arid weather gives the annual plants enough heat to germinate seeds, sprout the first growth and just start to bloom before the warm rainy season sets in followed by months of sun before harvest.
All chili is native to Central and South America and research suggest that cultivation of this plant is over 8000 years old (Aji Amarillo in Peru). The Inca, Mayan, Aztec and other ancient cultures all cultivated chilis from wild species that then made their way all over the world via the Spanish.