Guajillo / Mirasol Pepper: A Staple in Mexican Cuisine
If you’re in SW Ohio or elsewhere, the Guajillo pepper is a solid choice for your garden. Known as Mirasol when fresh, this pepper offers moderate heat and exceptional flavor. The Guajillo pepper is a staple in Mexican cuisine, both in its fresh form, known as Mirasol, and as dried Guajillo chiles. The pepper has a moderate heat level, clocking in at around 4,000 SHU. It’s not as hot as a Habanero or a Ghost pepper but offers enough kick to be taken seriously.
Fresh vs. Dried: Culinary Uses
When fresh, the Guajillo is known as Mirasol and is often used in salsas, sauces, and stews. Its moderate heat makes it a versatile ingredient, suitable for a variety of dishes. On the other hand, dried Guajillo peppers are a key ingredient in mole sauces and spice rubs. Whether you’re using it fresh or dried, the Guajillo offers a range of culinary possibilities.
When it comes to heat, the Guajillo is milder than many other peppers like the Jalapeño or the Serrano. However, it offers a unique flavor profile that sets it apart. It’s not as sweet as a Bell pepper, but it’s not as overwhelmingly hot as a Jamaican Mushroom. It sits comfortably in the middle, offering a balanced heat that can be enjoyed by most.
Fresh, AKA Mirasol – Here are some common uses:
Salsas: Fresh Mirasol peppers can be used to make a variety of salsas. They add a moderate kick without overwhelming the other flavors.
Sauces: Whether it’s a tomato-based sauce for enchiladas or a cream-based sauce for pasta, the Mirasol can add a layer of complexity and heat.
Stews and Soups: The Mirasol pepper can be diced and added to stews and soups for a bit of heat and flavor. It pairs well with meats like beef and pork, as well as vegetables.
Grilling: Fresh Mirasol peppers can be grilled whole or in slices and served as a side dish or used as a topping for grilled meats.
Pickling: Like the Jalapeño or Banana pepper, Mirasol peppers can be pickled and used as a condiment.
Dried Guajillo Peppers – Common uses:
When dried, the Guajillo pepper takes on a different set of characteristics that make it ideal for specific culinary applications:
Mole Sauces: Dried Guajillo peppers are often used in traditional Mexican mole sauces, where they contribute both color and flavor. [Check out this recipe for an all purpose sauce, using rehydrated Guajillo]
Spice Rubs: The dried peppers can be ground into a powder and used in spice rubs for meats like chicken, pork, or beef.
Chili and Stews: Dried Guajillo chiles can be rehydrated and used in chili recipes or hearty stews, adding a different dimension of flavor compared to the fresh form.
Hot Sauces: For those who like to make their own hot sauces, dried Guajillo chiles can be the base, often mixed with other hotter peppers like the Habanero for added heat.
Rice and Bean Dishes: The dried chiles can be used to infuse oils or liquids, which can then be used in cooking rice or bean dishes.
Growing the Guajillo
The Mirasol pepper plant is relatively easy to grow, as are most annuum cultivars, making it a good choice for both novice and experienced gardeners. It’s not as finicky as some other varieties like the Carolina Reaper. The plant produces a good yield, and the peppers themselves are relatively large, often reaching lengths of up to 4 inches. Due to the weight of the fruit and heavy yields, we recommend staking the plants to provided increased support.