Guajillo. Don't you just love saying it? Gwah-Hee-yo.
I have never actually worked with dried peppers before. I've worked with dried mushrooms (which I love), but I have always been rather intimidated by dried peppers. But on a recent trip to the supermarket I threw caution to the wind and decided to buy a package of guajillo peppers and a package of ancho peppers.
First up are the guajillos. Easier to use than I had thought, they are an inexpensive way to provide some great flavor to your dishes. They are a mild pepper rating about 2 or 3 on the hot scale-with 10 being super hot, so if super hot is what you're looking for these are not the peppers you want. But if you're looking for a nice smoky flavor, a hint of spice, and some nice color, these peppers deliver on all counts.
The peppers have a leathery skin and need a bit of soaking to reconstitute. Be sure to wash before using and trim the stems before placing in boiling water to reconstitute.
I had an abundance of thin sliced chicken cutlets in my freezer and decided to make use of them, so I thawed and marinated them in a guajillo based marinade then grilled them. Paired with yellow rice and sauteed peppers they made a quick tasty dinner. I also shredded one and added cheese and green onion placed between two whole wheat tortillas for a tasty quesadilla for one of my picky eaters...yummy.
Guajillo Grilled Chicken
4 dried guajillo peppers, washed
1 cup boiling water
2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 teaspoon honey
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon salt
6 boneless, skinless thin sliced chicken cutlets
Place the guajillo peppers in a small bowl and cover with the boiling water. Cover the bowl and let peppers sit for 15-20 minutes, until tender.
Transfer the peppers and 1/4 cup of the water to a food processor (reserve the remaining water). Add the oil, tomato paste, honey, vinegar, cumin and salt; process until smooth. Place the paste and the remaining water into a zipper top plastic bag along with the chicken; shake well to combine. Let the chicken marinate for at least 30 minutes.
Preheat a grill to medium high heat. Remove the chicken from the marinade and place on the hot grill, discard marinade. Grill chicken 2-3 minutes per side.