Courtesy chef Michelle Estigoy, Cultura comida y bebida in Carmel
12 New Mexico dried red chiles (stems and seeds removed)
1 quart water
2 tablespoons salt
Put the water in a saucepan and bring to simmer. Toast chiles in a dry pan until aromatic. Add chiles to the water along with the salt and simmer until tender, about 45 minutes. Cool. Then liquefy in a high-powered blender until smooth.
Traditionally chiles, water and salt are all that are used. But sometimes I like to balance the final sauce using a touch of cider vinegar, sugar and butter.
Some people also add onions or coriander seed for additional flavor. If you are able to get a great red chile such as Chimayo red, I recommend keeping it very simple to start, and letting the pure flavor of the chile shine.