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 puree.
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.
Yields 3/4 to 1 cup.
The adobo can be stored, tightly covered, in the refrigerator up
to 1 month, or indefinitely in the freezer.