January 14, 2011 1:01 AM
The Guajillo chile is one of the most commonly used Mexican dried chiles, and it is now widely available in the United States. It is long and pointy, with a beautiful maroon color. Its skin is quite smooth and shinny on the outside, but it is hard and tougher and less pliable than others, like the Ancho.
It has a pleasant and deep flavor, with mild heat. It tends to be a crowd pleaser (continue for more information and photos).
In the north of Mexico, it is called Rattle chile or Cascabel because it resembles the tail of a rattlesnake and it makes the sound of a rattle as you shake it. But, there is another chile of an entirely different variety that goes by the name Cascabel. It is used in many ways, such as to prepare table sauces, to season stews, moles and soups, to make adobos and rubs too.
Usually, to use the chile, you need to remove the stem, seeds and veins. Toast the chile in a comal or skillet for about 10 to 15 seconds per side, until it turns brownish and opaque. Just be careful not to burn it or it will taste bitter. Then in most cases, it is either ground or simmered and pureed or mashed along with other ingredients.