This is an all-purpose chili paste recipe made with ancho and guajillo chili peppers. Use it to flavor soups and stews, pasta sauces, slow cooker recipes and so much more. I have this in the refrigerator all the time as a quick go-to for massive flavor.
Chili pastes are essential in this wild place called the Chili Pepper Madness kitchen. A good chili paste brings a HUGE infusion of flavor to many a dish, and when I don't have a quick chili paste on hand, ready to go at a moment's notice, I chastise myself repeatedly then rush to make another batch so I can stop berating myself. Note to self: ALWAYS keep chili paste in the house!
Recipes all around the world list chili pastes among their required ingredients. Each is made from regional chili peppers and spices, which makes the recipe flavor completely unique. A simple chili paste is made from dried peppers. Drying the peppers preserves them, allowing you to keep them almost indefinitely, but it also concentrates the flavor of the pepper, so when you rehydrate them to make your paste, your end result is a flavor bomb that makes your body quiver. No joke! We grow all sorts of chili peppers each year and I dehydrate many of them for pastes alone. I can pull out a small bag of dried peppers and whip up a paste anytime I need, which is such a happy-happy thing for me.
This particular recipe is made with ancho peppers and guajillo peppers, which I picked up in bulk from my local Mexican grocer. I keep it in a little container in the fridge, like so. Ignore the terrible handwriting.
It will keep in the refrigerator a few weeks this way, or you can freeze it in small batches if you'd like. I make a slighly larger batch to keep around for quick use, but since it's truly so quick and easy to make anyway, there is no reason you can't make a fresh batch for whatever recipe you'll be making that particular day. I will be using this chili paste in a number of recipes that I have planned in the coming days, and I will be referencing it, so if you're cooking along with me, get a batch of this ready ahead to save yourself a bit of time.
The most basic chili paste is simply rehydrated peppers that are processed and nothing else. Alone, this type of paste brings a lot of flavor to your dish. I like to add in a few other ingredients, like garlic, a bit of salt, some onion, though you don't have to do it this way. It works for me, though. You can add in other seasonings as well to achieve your preferred flavors, though the goal here is to keep it generic enough to be able to include it in any number of dishes.
What sorts of dishes can you make with chili paste? I'm glad you asked, my friends! I will be making a unique mostaccioli recipe and will use this to flavor the pasta sauce by swirling it into tomato sauce for something unique. Any meats you cook in the slow cooker will benefit from this paste. Think pork shoulder, lamb leg, beef roast. Toss in some of this chili paste with a bit of beer or stock and BOOM! Tasty. Use it for soup bases that call for stocks. Asian style noodle bowl dishes are great with this. How about a good posole recipe? Oh yeah! So many ideas. This chili paste makes me super happy. Let me know how you wind up using it.
Ancho-Guajillo Chili Paste – Recipe
- 8-10 dried ancho peppers
- 6-8 dried guajillo peppers
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 small yellow onion, chopped
- 3-4 cloves garlic, chopped
- Salt to taste
- Add ancho and guajillo peppers to a large bowl and pour boiling water over them. Cover and let sit for about 20 minutes to soften.
- Remove from the water and cut off the stems. Slice open and remove the seeds. Drop them into a food processor.
- Heat a small pan to medium heat and add 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add onion and cook about 4-5 minutes to soften.
- Add garlic and cook 1 more minute, stirring a bit. Remove from heat and add to the food processor.
- Add a pinch of salt or so and process to form a thick paste.
- Transfer to a container and top with a layer of olive oil.
- Cover and refrigerate. Should last a couple of weeks.
Makes about 2 cups.