Start with that all important step: Roasting! Heat a heavy non-stick skillet (I like to use cast iron) over medium-high heat. Don't add any oil. Lay the dried peppers on the skillet and toast them for a minute or two on each, just until they become very fragrant. It's better to under-toast than to over-toast them as they will become very bitter if scorched. Remove and set aside. Next place the onion, garlic and tomatoes on the skillet and toast until lightly browned.
Remove the stems from the peppers (using gloves if you're using hot peppers), slice the peppers open and remove and discard all of the seeds and the membranes (contrary to popular belief, it's the membranes not the seeds that are hot, the seeds are bitter). Place the peppers in a bowl.Pour the boiling water over the peppers, cover the bowl and let them sit for 20-30 minutes until soft.
Place the peppers and their liquid along with the onion, tomato, garlic and all remaining ingredients (except for the chocolate if using) in a blender and blend until completely smooth.Note: At this point determine for yourself whether your sauce needs to be strained. I use a Vitamix blender which does an excellent job of blending the sauce to a very smooth puree, so I don't bother straining it.
Time to cook the sauce: Heat a tablespoon or so of oil to a pot then add red sauce. Simmer it uncovered for about 30 minutes. Add a little more water if you prefer it thinner. The sauce should be the thickness of heavy cream.Optional: For an added flavor touch, add a small piece of semi-sweet chocolate at the end and stir until melted.If the sauce is very bitter, add a touch of brown sugar. SEE NOTE.
Store in the fridge for up to 2 weeks or freeze it for several months. I like to freeze about a cup of it per freezer bag so I can conveniently grab a bag as needed.Makes approx. 5-6 cups.
A universal complaint about homemade chile sauce is its tendency to taste bitter. That can be because of the peels of the chili peppers or because they were scorched when toasting them. Whatever the reason, if your chile sauce is too bitter for you, add a little brown sugar.