Red Chile Adobo
2 tablespoons lard or vegetable oil
4 medium hot whole dried red chiles, either
ancho, Guajillo, or dried Anaheim, stems intact
1 1/2 cups boiling water
1 large clove garlic, finely minced
1 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano
1 cup water
Heat lard or vegetable oil in a small heavy skillet over medium heat until rippling. Fry the whole chiles, one at a time, turning several times with tongs, until puffed and red or slightly orange in color, 30 to 60 seconds. Be careful not to let them burn. As the chiles are done, add them to the boiling water in a bowl. Let soak until softened, about 10 minutes. Push them down if they float.
Drain. Pull or cut off the chile tops and scrape out the seeds. Discard tops and seeds. Place the soaked chile pods in a blender with the garlic, oregano and 1 cup water. Process to a smooth purée. Add a little more water, if desired, to facilitate blending, but the sauce should be thick.
Place a medium-mesh sieve over a bowl. Pour the paste into the sieve and force it through with a wooden spoon, scraping and rubbing to push through as much of the solids as possible. Discard any bits that won’t go through.
The adobo can be stored, tightly covered, in the refrigerator up to 1 month, or indefinitely in the freezer.
Yields 3/4 to 1 cup.