Friday, July 24, 2009

Guajillo Stew

I have a lot of Guajillo peppers growing in the garden, so it was time to clean out the last few dried ones from the kitchen cabinet. Never heard of guajillo peppers? Well, you've certainly eaten them. They're the foundation of the basic chili sauce you put on enchiladas. This is a fairly simple stew, especially good because I didn't have to go to the store. Everything in it was already in the pantry. (The zucchini was a gift from a neighbor; he overlooked it one day and found himself the next morning with a four-pound monster on his vine. He gave it to us because Zizania can cook anything.)
  • 3 dried guajillo chilis
  • 1 T oil (soybean, corn, canola, whatever)
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper -- seeded and diced
  • 1 zucchini, peeled and diced (use a medium-sized one)
  • 4 cloves garlic -- minced (I love garlic; you can use less)
  • 1 14-oz. can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 potato, peeled and diced
  • 1 11-oz. can sweet corn, drained
  • 1 can chickpeas, drained
  • 2 t dried oregano
  • 1 ½ t ground cumin
  • 1 t salt
  • ¼ c red wine
  • water
  1. Make simple chili sauce. Cut off the stems from the chilis and discard the seeds. Put the chilis in a bowl. Boil a cup of water and pour it over them. Put a smaller bowl on top to keep the chilis under water, and leave them to soak for 20 minutes.
  2. In a large pot (I use a dutch oven), heat the oil. Sauté the onion, bell pepper, zucchini, and garlic until the onions turn yellow and the zucchini is tender. Dump the remaining ingredients in the pot, cover with water, and bring to a simmer. Put a lid on the pot.
  3. After the chilis have been soaking 20 minutes, put them in a blender and purée the heck out of them. The sauce should look like a thick liquid.
  4. Add the purée, reduce heat and cover. Let it cook until the potatoes are tender. (The time depends on how small you diced them.)


  1. To anyone who follows that link: the sauce as they describe it might be a bit greasy for your taste. I recommend vegetable bouillon for the stock, which makes the stew much lighter and more summery.

  2. Oh, by the way, you can't buy guajillo chilis at Safeway. You have to go to the local Hispanic market. They'll be in a plastic bag, hanging on a hook somewhere near the vegetable aisle.