Along with Salsa Cruda, Salsa Verde, and Ranchero, a dried chili sauce is one of the basics of tortilla cuisine. You can use any of a variety of dried chilies: pasilla, New Mexico, California, or ancho chilies. We prefer anchos for their robust smoky taste and because you don’t have to scrape the pulp off the skins before pureeing them. The advantage of a dried chili sauce is its lasting power. It keeps in the refrigerator for many months. If you make a double or triple batch and store it in a jar or plastic container, you are guaranteed to have a sauce on hand for many a spontaneous taco.
Yield: Makes 2 cups
6 ancho chilies (about 4 ounces)
4 large garlic cloves
1½ teaspoons pure chili powder
2½ cups water
½ teaspoon salt
1. Remove the stems and seeds from the chilies. Quarter the garlic cloves.
2. Place the chilies, garlic, chili powder, and water in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce to a simmer, and cook until the chilies are soft, about 15 minutes. Remove from the heat; set aside to cool for 10 minutes.
3. Purée the mixture in a food processor, blender, or food mill. Add the salt and mix well. Serve right away, or cover, refrigerate, and use within 3 months.