Ancho Chili Sauce

2 pounds tomatoes — fresh or canned
20 large garlic cloves — unpeeled
3 ancho chilies — or chilis negros (3 to 4)
2 teaspoons dried oregano

If possible, grill the tomatoes over a charcoal or wood fire until they are soft but the skins have not blackened. Otherwise, broil them for 5 to 8 minutes, turning them frequently, until they are soft and the skins are blistered . Puree in a blender and set them aside.

Preheat the oven to 350F.

Roast the garlic cloves until they are soft inside and slightly browned on the outside, about 20 minutes. Let them cool briefly; then peel. Put them in a small blender jar, and blend with some of the tomato puree.

Roast the chilies in the oven until they puff up and are fragrant about 3 to 5 minutes. Remove the stems, seeds, and veins, tear into pieces, then blend in a small blender jar or spice mill.

Roast the oregano in a dry skillet until it is aromatic, and remove it to a dish to stop the cooking.

Heat the tomatoes; season them with the garlic puree, chili, oregano. and salt, and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes.

Makes about 3 cups (6 one-half cup servings)

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