MAKES ABOUT 2 CUPS
In Oaxaca, the distinctive cuisine of the Isthmus relies on guajillo chiles, vinegar, and other strong flavorings—all used in this marinade.
30 dried guajillo chiles
4 dried avocado leaves
1/4 cup cider vinegar
8 cloves garlic, peeled and coarsely chopped
2 tbsp. ground Mexican cinnamon
1 tbsp. dried Mexican oregano
1 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
10 bay leaves, crumbled
Freshly ground black pepper
1. Rinse guajillo chiles. Heat a skillet over medium-high heat, add chiles, and cook, turning, until fragrant, about 40 seconds. Transfer chiles to a bowl, cover with hot water, and soak until soft, 25 minutes. In the same skillet, toast avocado leaves, turning once, for 30 seconds. Crumble and set aside. Drain chiles and remove and discard stems and seeds. (It is best to wear rubber gloves when handling chiles because oils can irritate skin.)
2. Place chiles in a blender. Add avocado leaves, vinegar, garlic, cinnamon, oregano, thyme, bay leaves, and pepper. Purée until smooth. Use to marinate suckling pig or other meats.