Yes, you can make this in the small bowl of a food processor or a blender (wimp). But then you’ll miss out on the pure physical pleasure of pounding a Guajillo chile into oblivion. Your choice.
2 Guajillo chiles
6 cloves of garlic, peeled and sliced in half
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 ½ tsp sweet pimenton (Spanish smoked paprika)
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp red wine or sherry vinegar
Heat a frying pan on medium-high heat. Add the whole chiles and toast gently on all sides. The idea is to bring out the flavor of the chiles but do not scorch or burn them. If you do, start over. You can toss the cumin seeds in to – it will bring out the flavor beautifully. Place the toasted chiles in a bowl and cover with hot but not boiling water. Let soak in the water for about 15-20 minutes until pliable.
Meanwhile, place the garlic, sea salt and toasted cumin seeds in the base of a mortar (or use a food processor or blender). Beat with the pestle until a rough paste is formed. Drain the chiles, remove the stem and roughly chop. Add to the mortar and pound until the chile is broken down into small bits. You are not going for a smooth paste – you’ll end up with seeds and chile pieces. Mix in the sweet pimenton, olive oil and vinegar. Season with salt if needed.
Mojo Rojo is great with:
• Green beans or other blanched green vegetables
• Boiled new potatoes
• Butternut squash or sweet potatoes
• Steak, chicken or pork tenderloin
• Spread on bread or as a thick dip for raw veg