8 cups dried whole New Mexico red chile pods (medium hot)
Water, to cover
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon ground or leaf Mexican oregano
6 cloves minced garlic, or 2 to 3 teaspoons granulated garlic
1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce, optional
Remove stems and seeds from dried chile pods. Rinse and place in 4-quart pot. Cover with water and bring to a boil. Remove from heat, cover, and let pods steep for 30 minutes.
Drain pods in a colander and reserve juice. Place softened pods into a blender or food processor, adding just enough reserved juice to barely cover. Blend to a fine consistency. Pour the resulting pulp into a fine sieve or colander and allow the extra juice to drain out, stirring occasionally.
Return this pulp to the 4-quart pot and add the salt, oregano, and garlic. Bring to a boil, then simmer uncovered for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Taste to adjust seasonings. If the sauce tastes bitter, add the tomato sauce. Simmer for 5 more minutes.
Use red chile sauce over enchiladas, chile rellenos, or as a side or sauce for any other Mexican entree.