Red Chile Sauce

3 dried ancho chiles or 2 ancho chilies

2 guajillo chilies, only use these if you are using ancho's

water

1 large garlic clove

2 cloves, whole, crushed

2 peppercorns, black, crushed

1/2 teaspoon salt, more to taste

olive oil

1

Working on one chile at a time, use a kitchen shears to cut a slit all the way down one side of a chile. Open up the chile and remove the stem and seeds. Remove as much of the veins as you can. Reserve a few of the seeds or veins for adding later if you want added heat.

2

Heat a large skillet on medium heat. Flatten out the dried chilies as well as you can and place on the skillet to heat. Press down on the opened chilies with a metal spatula for a few seconds. You may hear some sizzle or popping. You do not want to toast or burn the chilies, just heat them enough to draw out more of the flavor.

3

Add the chilies to a small saucepan and add enough water so that they are just covered. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat and let sit for 10 minutes, until the chilies have softened and plumped up. (OR pour place the chilies in a small saucepan and pour boiling water over them to cover. Let sit for 15 minutes until softened.

4

Reserving the soaking water, remove the chilies from the pan and place in a blender. Add the garlic, salt, ground pepper, ground cloves, and 1 1/2 cups of the soaking liquid (taste the soaking water first, if it seems bitter, use water or even broth instead). Purée for 2 minutes until the sauce is completely smooth. Taste the sauce and adjust the seasoning. If you want more heat, add in a few of the seeds or veins and purée some more. Add more salt if needed.

5

Pour the sauce through a sieve into a skillet. Add a tablespoon of olive oil to the sauce. Bring to a simmer and reduce heat to maintain the simmer, cook for 10 minutes. Skim off the foam. Remove from heat. Use immediately or pour into a glass jar (plastic will get stained) and refrigerate.

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