Pasilla Chili Peppers
Scoville Heat Units: 250 – 3,999 SHU
Pasilla or “little raisin” properly refers to the dried chilaca pepper. The chilaca, when fresh, is also known as pasilla bajio, or as the chile negro or “Mexican negro” because, while it starts off dark green, it ends up dark brown. It typically grows from 8 to 10 inches long.
The pasilla pepper should not be confused with the ancho. The ancho is the dried version of the poblano pepper that growers and grocers frequently mislabel as the pasilla in the United States. The darker anchos ARE also sometimes known as chile negro – thus generating much confusion – but they are not the same as the pasilla peppers.
Featuring a rich smoky taste, the pasilla often turns up in dried whole form or as a powder in Mexican salsas as well as in mole and adobo sauces. The pasilla can even create an interesting twist in the flavor and appearance of the standard red-chile enchilada sauce. It is also a favorite in combination with fruits or accompanying duck, seafood, lamb, mushrooms, garlic, fennel, honey or oregano.