The mirasol chilli is a variety of chilli pepper of the species Capsicum annuum. The name Mirasol means “looking at the sun” in Spanish, which describes the erect way the pods grow on the compact plant (these peppers do not hang from the pepper plants but instead the pods grow upwards into the air at the top of the plant). The peppers are also called “Chile Trompa”, or Elephant’s trunk, and “Travieso chile”, or naughty pepper. The Mirasol varies in size and appearance, but it is conical in shape, and commonly 4-5 inches long, and about 2 inches wide. It is red to dark red, or copper in colour and the flavour is fruity and berry-like, and is described as full-bodied, distinct, and “delicate.” It is perfect for chicken, fish, potato, or pork dishes and adds a delicious spiciness to salsas, stews, chilis and mole sauces. They are very common in Peruvian and Mexican cooking.
The mirasol chilli’s thin, deep-red flesh has a green tea flavour with berry overtones. Its fruits are large and mild in flavour, with only a small amount of heat (rating 2,500 to 5,000 on the Scoville scale). They are sometimes used to make the salsa for tamales; the dried fruits are seeded, soaked, pulverised to a thin paste, then cooked with salt and several other ingredients to produce a thick, red, flavourful sauce. These chillies may be used in pastes, butters, or rubs to flavour all kinds of meats, especially chicken. Alternatively, they can be added to salsas to create a sweet side dish with a surprisingly hot finish.
Mirasol chilli peppers are a wonderful addition to any garden. They are a bit smaller than many other types of chilli peppers but are incomparable for their rich chilli flavour and colour with a limited amount of heat. The Mirasol chilli pepper plant produces large yields of bright red peppers that are 4-5 inches long and up to two inches wide when mature. When dried, the Mirasol chillies, now called Guajillo peppers, are often ground into a fine powder and used in a similar way to paprika. Guajillo chilli peppers are the second most commonly used chilli pepper in Mexican cooking and are one of the main chillies used in traditional mole sauces.
Mirasol chiles are mainly used in soups stews and sauces. They are also used to flavour potatoes and meat. Tacos, quesadillas and some Mexican salads commonly contain mirasol peppers. Mirasol chile is used fresh or in dried, powder, and paste form. Traditionally, homemade paste is made by soaking the dried chiles in water overnight, changing the water a few times. Next wash the chillies under water, cut them and rub together, cleaning the inside. Next boil them in water for a couple of hours. If you want to reduce the heat factor then change the water a few times during the boiling process. One the boiling time is up, remove them and blend them with olive oil until you have a paste consistency.
- 175ml white wine vinegar
- A large pinch of ground cumin
- 3 fresh mirasol chillies, minced
- 1 whole mirasol chilli
- 120ml of cold water
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- A large pinch of sea salt
- 2kg shin of beef
- 4 onions, roughly chopped
- A handful of freshly chopped mint
- A small handful of freshly chopped thyme
- 2 sprigs of rosemary, leaves removed and finely chopped
- A small handful of freshly chopped oregano,
- A handful of freshly chopped flat leaf parsley
- A small handful of freshly chopped coriander
Firstly, make the paste. Place the vinegar, cumin, chillies and olive oil in the food processor. Add the water and blitz. Add a pinch of salt and mix thoroughly. Trim and cube the shin of beef and place in a mixing bowl. Pour over the chilli paste and mix thoroughly ( A word of advice, use gloves) cover the mixing bowl and place in the fridge overnight. In the morning, remove the beef from the fridge and bring back up to room temperature. Next Preheat the oven to gas mark 4/180c. In a large casserole, place the roughly chopped onions in the casserole. Scatter the herbs on the onions then layer the meat and pour the marinade over the top. Cover and place in the oven and cook for 3 hours. Remove and check the seasoning. Serve with baked sweet potato.