This question came to the Burn! Blog from Pat, one of our readers:
“I have a question about the guajillo chile. I’m an American living in the Netherlands where we have a pretty short growing season. I didn’t get my chiles started as soon as I should have and now it is November and I’m waiting for my guajillo chiles to turn red. I hope they still will. I haven’t found anything about using them green. Are these chiles that can be used green like in a Chili Verde? I just had to take some green ones off of a dying plant. Thanks for any advice.”
Here’s Dave DeWitt’s answer:
Hi Pat, you have two options:
1. Use them green precisely as you would New Mexico green chile varieties—roast and peel them, chop them up and freeze them. (Guajillos were used to develop NM chiles 100 years ago.)
2. Place the green ones in a box with banana peels and/or other ripening fruits—any will work. The green ones should mature to red. Then, to dry them (guajillos are usually used in the dried red form), cut small small slits near the stem end and place them in a food dehydrator.
Read more about making and using a ripening box here.
There are more great methods for making and using dried pods and powders (including guajillo) in the SuperSite article Other Methods of Drying and Making Powders.
If you’re not lucky to have your own crop of guajillo peppers, you can order them from The Spice House here.
Here’s a recipe that uses fresh green chile pods—and guajillo chiles will work perfectly:
Chile Verde Con Carne
Margaret Campos, who owns an organic chile farm and the Comida de Campos cooking school in Embudo, New Mexico, provided this recipe. Since the native chiles in northern New Mexico vary from one micro-region to the next, Campos says to use whatever you have on hand. She serves this green chile stew alone or with beans and a fresh tortilla.
15 medium-sized (5- to 7-inch) chiles
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon lard
1 pound pork shoulder, trimmed and cut into ½-inch cubes
2 tablespoons flour
2 garlic cloves, pressed or chopped
3 cups stock or broth
Over a medium-hot grill or in a 350°F oven, roast the chiles until the skin begins to bubble. Rotate the chiles to roast them evenly—be diligent to avoid scorching. Chiles will change color when they’re done; the green acquires a yellow hue. Place the roasted chiles in a bowl and cover with a damp cloth and allow them to steam and cool. When the chiles are cool enough to handle, remove the skin, stem and seeds (seeds are optional). Chop the chiles and set aside.
In a medium-sized skillet, add 1 tablespoon lard, and brown the pork over medium-high heat, approximately 10 to 12 minutes. When the pork is done, add the remaining lard and flour, stirring and cooking for two minutes. Brown the flour slightly, and add the garlic. Mix in the chile and stock, and combine well.
Lower the heat and allow to simmer 10 to 15 minutes until the broth has thickened, stirring frequently. Simmering longer will bring out the heat in chile, so simmer to taste. If your chile is too spicy, add diced tomato or a tablespoon of milk to cut the heat.
Yield: 4 main dish servings or 10 to 12 as a condiment
Heat Scale: Hot