Mussels with Guajillo Sauce

The Guajillo (wha-hee-oh) chile is the most common dried chile in Mexico after the Ancho. The flavor of the Guajillo is distinct, slightly fruity with a strong piney, berry under taste. Guajillo flavors dished easily so a little goes a long way. This chile is between a 2-4 on the heat scale of 1-10. Guajillo, combined with the Passilla and Ancho, form the holy trinity of chiles used to prepare the traditional mole sauces.

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Yields 4 Servings


For the mussels:

  • 4 dozen Prince Edward Island mussels
  • 1/4 cup cornmeal
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1 1/4 cups Guajillo Sauce, see recipe below
  • 1/2 cup clam juice
  • 1/2 cup lime juice
  • 4 basil leaves, sliced in thin strips
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup loosely packed parsley, chopped
  • 4 lime wedges
  • 4 flour tortilla

For guajillo sauce:

  • 1 ounce dried guajillo chiles (about 4), stemmed and seeded
  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons chopped onion
  • 1 small garlic clove, chopped
  • 1/2 roma tomato, chopped
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper


Place the mussels in a bowl, sprinkle with cornmeal and cover in room-temperature water for 20 minutes. Rinse thoroughly in cold water, then clean and debeard the mussels, if necessary.
In a large pan over high heat, add the oil. Add the garlic and then the mussels. Add the wine, the Guajillo Sauce, clam juice, lime juice and basil. Cover and cook until the shells open, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and season to taste with salt and pepper. Divide the mussels and sauce among 4 bowls. Garnish each with a sprinkling of parsley and a lime wedge. Serve each bowl with a tortilla on the side.

For the sauce:
Heat a heavy sauce pot over medium-high heat. Add the chiles to the dry pan and toast, turning occasionally, until the chiles are very fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the water, onion, garlic and tomato. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until the chiles are soft, 20 to 30 minutes. Remove from heat. Cool a few minutes, then puree in a blender, taking care with the hot liquid. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Recipe from Southern Kitchen