Salsa Picante de Chile de Arbol

De arbol chiles are fairly short, skinny, dried red chiles that are hotter than jalapenos or serranos. Use this smooth salsa when you want a big burst of chile flavor.

2 cups water
20  chiles de arbol, stemmed and seeded
2 cloves {garlic}, minced
2  medium tomatoes
2 tablespoons vinegar
1/2 teaspoon Mexican oregano
In a saucepan over high heat, bring the water to a boil.

Meanwhile, in a cast-iron skillet over medium heat, toast the chiles until they soften and darken, but be careful not to burn them. Transfer the chiles to a medium-sized, heat-safe bowl and pour in enough boiling water to cover. Keep the chiles submerged with a small plate or saucer.

Add the garlic and tomatoes to the skillet and cook, shaking the pan occasionally, until the garlic gathers some golden patches and the tomatoes are mostly charred. Remove the garlic and tomatoes to a cutting board to cool, then mince the garlic and roughly chop the tomatoes.

Using a slotted spoon, remove the chiles from the soaking water and put them in a blender. Reserve the soaking water.

Add the garlic, tomatoes, vinegar, and oregano to the blender and process until smooth, adding a little of the reserved soaking water if necessary. Season to taste with salt and a little bit of sugar.

Ease of Preparation: Easy

Preparation Time: 15-20 min

Cook Time: 10-15 min

Servings: makes about 1 1/2 cups

Recipe By: Gwyneth Donald

From:  Cook West: Seductive Salsa
Used with permission of Rio Nuevo