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Cooked Tomato-Chipotle Sauce

3 to 4 dried chipotles or 3 to 4 canned chilies chipotles en adobo
4 garlic cloves
1 1/2 pounds tomatoes
1 tablespoon lard or oil
1/2 teaspoon salt, to taste

Set a heavy ungreased skillet over medium heat. If using dried
chilies, break off their stems. Toast the chilies a few at a time:
Lay on the hot surface, press flat for a few seconds with a metal
spatula, then flip and press down to toast the other side. Transfer
the toasted chilies to a bowl, cover with hot water and let sit
for 30 minutes. Drain water and discard.

If using canned chilies, remove them from the adobo.

On a heavy, ungreased skillet or griddle over medium heat, roast
the unpeeled garlic, turning occasionally, until blackened in spots
and soft, about 15 minutes. Cool, slip off skins, and chop.

Lay the tomatoes on a baking sheet and place about 4-inches below
a very hot broiler. When they blacken on one side, about 6 minutes,
turn them over and roast on the other side. Cool, then peel,
collecting all the juices with the tomatoes.

Scrape the tomatoes and their juices into a food processor or
blender and add the rehydrated or canned chilies and garlic. Pulse
the machine until the mixture is nearly a puree.

Heat the lard or oil in a heavy, medium-size saucepan over medium-high
heat. When hot enough to make a drop of the puree sizzle sharply,
add it all at once and stir for about 5 minutes as it sears and
concentrates to an earthy, red, thickish sauce - about the consistency
of a medium-thick spaghetti sauce. Taste and season with salt.

Yield: 2 cups


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