I like to use a variety of dried chiles in this versatile, condiment-style salsa/sauce. Shop for dried chiles in supermarkets with a large Mexican food selection. To assess freshness, press the chiles—they should be soft and pliable, not brittle.
- 2-3 Ounces dried chile pods, such as ancho, guajillo, pasilla or New Mexico (or use a combination)
- 2 Cups extra virgin olive oil
- 1/3 Cup chopped dry roasted peanuts
- 1/4 Cup chopped pecans
- 1-2 Tablespoon sesame seeds
- 1/2 small red onion, chopped
- 4 large cloves garlic, peeled, cut in half
- 1-2 Tablespoon cider vinegar
- 1-2 canned chipotles in adobo, removed from sauce
- 1 Teaspoon fine salt
- 1/2 Teaspoon dried oregano
Step 1: Use kitchen shears to cut stems off of 2-3 ounces dried chiles. Cut chiles open and scrape out seeds. Discard seeds and stems. Use the shears to cut the chiles into 1/2-inch pieces. You will need about 1 generous cup of chile pieces.
Step 2: Put 2 cups extra virgin olive oil into a large saucepan. Heat over medium until warm — not hot, certainly not smoking.
Step 3: Add 1/3 cup chopped dry roasted peanuts, 1/4 cup chopped pecans, 1-2 tablespoons sesame seeds, 1/2 of a chopped small red onion and 4 cloves garlic to the heated oil. Cook, stirring often, until the garlic turns golden, 5-10 minutes. The garlic should not burn and the oil should not smoke.
Step 4: Stir in chopped dried chiles. Remove from heat. Let cool to room temperature, about 45 minutes.
Step 5: Add 1 tablespoon vinegar, 1 chipotle chile, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano.
Step 6: Carefully transfer mixture to a blender container (work in batches if necessary). Use on/off turns to finely chop all the solids. Do not puree. Taste and adjust seasoning, adding more vinegar, chipotle and salt as desired.
Step 7: Transfer to small covered containers. Use at room temperature. Store in the refrigerator for up to several weeks. Let stand at room temperature to allow oil to warm up before using.