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Pasilla-Guajillo Adobo Recipe


Introducing a second chile into the mix takes just a few extra minutes, but rewards you by providing a well-rounded, sophisticated flavor. A splash of beer adds serious depth. Pasillas and guajillos go beautifully together, but once you get the hang of adobos, you’ll find yourself experimenting with other combinations as well. Perhaps you’ll do what my mom does, peeking into the cupboard, grabbing a few bags of whatever chiles you’ve had around for a while, and whipping up something incredible.

Click here to see the Grilled Adobo-Marinated Skirt Steak recipe. 


  • 2 ounces pasilla chiles (about 6 chiles), stemmed, deseeded, and deveined
  • 2 ounces guajillo chiles (about 8 chiles), stemmed, deseeded, and deveined
  • ¼ cup distilled white vinegar
  • ¼ cup light Mexican beer
  • ½ cup chopped white onion
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 teaspoon fine salt, or 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano, preferably Mexican
  • ¼ teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 5 whole cloves


Heat a comal, griddle, or heavy skillet over medium-low heat, and toast the chiles 2 or 3 at a time, turning them over and pressing down on them with tongs frequently, until the chiles are fragrant, about 1 minute per batch. Soak the chiles in enough cold water to cover until they’re soft, about 30 minutes. Drain and discard the soaking water.

Put the vinegar and beer in the blender jar with the chiles and the remaining ingredients. Blend until smooth, at least 3 minutes, adding a little water if necessary to puree. If you like a silky, smooth texture, strain the adobo through a medium-mesh sieve.

Now you can use this highly flavored purée as a marinade for seafood and meat. Or turn it into a fabulous cooking liquid or sauce for eggs, beans, and enchiladas.

This adobo keeps in the refrigerator for up to five days or in the freezer for up to one month.