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Chilaca Chile Peppers
Inventory, 10 lbs : 0
Chilaca chile peppers are available in the summer months.
Botanically a member of Capsicum annuum the Chilaca chile pepper is the fresh version of the popular Pasilla pepper. Once dried the Chilaca is sold under the name Pasilla which translates to mean “little raisin” in Spanish. Also known as Pasilla Bajio, chili Negro, Mexican Negro, Prieto and Cuernillo the Chilaca pepper is most commonly sold today in its dried whole or powdered form. Commercial production in Mexico yields approximately 3,500 tons annually. The fresh Chilaca can be found when in season occasionally at farmers markets and specialty grocers, particularly in communities with a large Latino population.
Chilaca chile peppers are long and thin with a slightly curved and flattened shape. They measure 6 to 9 inches long and are typically about 1 inch in diameter. These chiles are dark green when immature and ripen to a deep brown chocolate color. Chilaca chile peppers can be picked when young and green or allowed to ripen fully to a reddish brown color on the bush. The brownish color of this chile is known as "achocolatado" in Spanish, meaning "chocolate colored". When in its not yet fully mature green stage it offers a mildly pungent flavor and a mild to medium heat similar to that of Poblano chiles. The Chilaca chile rates at 1,000 to 2,000 Scoville units.
Chilaca chile peppers provide an excellent source of vitamin C, iron, niacin and magnesium as well as a modest amount of vitamins B1, B2 and D.
Chilaca chile peppers are most commonly utilized in their dried form, Pasilla, either as a whole pepper or ground down into a powder. As a fresh pepper they can be used in a fashion similar to that of other mild to medium heat peppers. Roasted and diced they can be added to salsas and sautés or pureed to make hot sauce or enchilada sauce. In Mexican cuisine they lend themselves to the classic preparation of rajas and chile rellanos. In Mexico they are also a popular pepper for pickling. Fully mature, dried Chilaca chiles are an integral component of many adobo and mole sauces along with ancho and mulato chiles. To store the chiles refrigerate between paper towels or in a plastic bag and use within two weeks.
In Mexico when the dried Chilaca chile is sold whole it is known as Pasilla, if the seeds are removed it is known as chile Capon, translating literally to mean "castrated chiles". In addition to the dried forms the Chilaca chile is also commonly sold en escabeche or pickled in vinegar.
The Chilaca chile pepper is believed to have originated in the Puebla region of Mexico just south of Mexico City. Today in central and northwestern Mexico, the Chilaca chile is cultivated primarily in Guanajuato, Valisco, Michoacan and Zacatecas. The name of this chile pepper comes from the Nahuatl Aztec language of Central Mexico and translates to "gray hair" or "old", a nod to its wrinkly appearance. While the fresh version is primarily available in Mexico, the dried version known as Pasilla can be found readily available in the United States and Europe. The Chilaca chile grows to full maturity in 90 to 100 days with pants yielding approximately 20 pods per plant. Like many varieties of chile pepper the Chilaca thrives in temperate to hot regions such as central Mexico.
Recipes that include Chilaca Chile Peppers. One is easiest, three is harder.