This basic sauce can be used in a variety of Southwestern dishes that call for a red sauce, as well as in place of ketchup when making salad dressings and other dishes. Other large dried chiles such as guajillo, pasilla, or ancho chiles can be added or substituted. This sauce will keep up to one week in the refrigerator, or you can freeze it.
12 dried whole red New Mexican chiles
1 large onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
3 cups water
Place the chiles on a baking pan and put in a 250° oven for 10 to 15 minutes or until the chiles smell like they are toasted, being careful not to let them burn. Remove the stems and seeds and crumble the pods into a saucepan.
Add the remaining ingredients, bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes or until the chiles are soft.
Puree the mixture in a blender or a food processor and strain. If the sauce is too thin, place it back on the stove and simmer until it is reduced to the desired consistency.