|1 small||Garlic Bulbs; Broken And Unpeeled|
|12 larges||Pasilla Chiles; Dried|
|2 teaspoons||Mexican Oregano; Dried|
|½ teaspoon||Black Pepper; Freshly Ground|
|¼ teaspoon||Cumin Seed; Freshly Ground|
1. THE GARLIC AND THE CHILES. Set a heavy ungreased skillet or griddle over medium heat. Lay the unpeeled garlic on the hot surface and let it roast to a sweet mellowness, turning occasionally, until soft when pressed between your fingers (you'll notice it has blackened in a few small spots), about 15 minutes. cool, then slip off the papery skins and roughly chop.
While the garlic is roasting, break the stems off the chiles, tear the chiles open and shake nd/or pick out all the seeds; for themildest sauce, be careful to remove all the stringy, light-colored veins. Next toast the chiles (to give them a richer flavor) a few at a time on your mediium-hot skillet or griddle; Open them flat, lay them on the hot surface skin-side up, press flat for a few seconds with a metal spatula (if the temperature is right you'll hear a faint crackle), then flip them. (If you pressed them just long enought, they'll have changed to a mottled tan underneath. If you see a slight wisp of smoke, it's okay, but any more than that will mean burnt chiles and bitter taste) Now, press down again to toast the other side (you won't notice as much change in color on the skin side). Transfer the toasted chiles to a bowl, cover with hot water and let rehydrate for 30 minutes, stirring regularly to ensure even soaking. pour off the water, reserving about ⅔ cup.
2. THE PUREE. If you're using whole spices, pulverize the oregano with the pepper and cumin in a mortar or spice grinder, then transfer the ground spices to a food processor or blender, along with the drained chiles, the garlic and the reserved soaking liquid. Process to a medium-smooth, thick puree, scraping and stirring every few seconds. (If you're using a blender and the mixture won't move through the blades, add water a little at a time until everything is moving, but still as thick as possible. Not only is a soupy misture a watery, uninteresting marinade, but the pureeing capabilities of the blender are much reduced when too much liquid is added.) Taste and season with salt ADVANCE PREPARATION - Covered and refrigerated, the seasoning will keep for a week or more, it can be successfully frozen.
OTHER CHILES YOU CAN USE - While this recipe looks similar to that for ancho, the fact that it used the soaking liquid and more garlic gives it a balance just right for pasilla. Mulato could work here, though it doesn't have the roundness of pasilla. As with Ancho Chile Seasoning Paste, you can embroider pasill with a chipotle for a smoky edge.
TRADITIONAL DISHES THAT USE THIS ESSENTIAL AS A STARTING POINT - Spicy Pasilla-Mushroom Tacos, Layered Pasilla-Tortilla Casserole, Seared Lamb in Swarthy Pasilla-Honey Sauce
NOTES : Pasilla is one of the most sophisticated chile flavors; pungent and tangy, deeply rich and woodsy. When you're used to using the gentler Ancho Seasoning Paste, graduate to pasilla. The techniques for making it are the same as those ou encounter with the ancho seasoning. Here, we accentuate and balance their muscley, less-sweet flavor by using their soaking water, adding more garlic and elaborating their woodsiness with mroe herbs, fewer spices. The near black pasilla tastes perfect with plack beans, mushrooms and richer meats like lamb and duck. Its spicy pungency becomes more focused when dark sugar or honey are part of the finished dish. If you enjoy reich, bold flavors, you'll love dishes made from pasilla.
Recipe by: Rick Bayless's Mexican Kitchen Posted to MC-Recipe Digest V1 #914 by "Karrie Brothers" <K_Brothers@...> on Nov 18, 97
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