Ranchero Sauce, photo by Sonia Mendez GarciaPhoto by Sonia Mendez Garcia

Ranchero Sauce

Cuisine: American
Servings: 7½-8 cups

When I was teaching cooking classes, my students would often ask for a recipe for “Ranchero Sauce.” I honestly was unfamiliar with such a thing. I knew of making salsa or enchilada sauce, but not this sauce. After reading many recipes and watching many, many hours of food TV, this is the recipe I came up with. Ranchero sauce, to me, is a cross between a cooked tomato salsa and an enchilada sauce. The best of both worlds. It can be used in a variety of Mexican recipes, for example, enchiladas, taquitos, burritos, chiles rellenos, pretty much any dish that would be served with a sauce. Prepare a batch for the freezer for a quick enchilada meal any night of the week!

Ingredients

  • 5 Roma tomatoes
  • 1 small white onion quartered
  • 4 dried New Mexico or Guajillo chile peppers stems and seeds removed
  • 1 habanero pepper (optional)
  • 1 to 2 chipotles in adobo
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • teaspoons cumin
  • teaspoons oregano
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons flour

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Directions

  1. In a large pot, combine the tomatoes, dried peppers, fresh peppers, onion and garlic. Cover with water, bring a boil, reduce heat and cook for 12 to 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.In a large pot, combine the tomatoes, dried peppers, fresh peppers, onion and garlic. Cover with water, bring a boil, reduce heat and cook for 12 to 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.
  2. Drain the tomato mixture and transfer all to the blender. Add the spices and 2 cups of chicken broth. Blend on high until smooth. Preheat the 4 tablespoons of canola oil to medium heat for 1 minutes. add the flour and cook for another minute. Pour the sauce from the blender into the hot pan. Add the remaining chicken broth. Cook the sauce at a low simmer for 35 to 40 minutes, stirring now and then, taste for salt and adjust and seasonings.
  3. Let the sauce cool completely before storing in an airtight container or freezing. If you cannot find the dried chile peppers, you can substitute with 1/4 cup of a mild chili powder instead. We like our dishes on the spicy side, so you may certainly reduce the number of peppers listed above, it’s just a suggestion on some different flavors.

Chef Notes

If you don’t want to use flour, you could mix 4 tablespoons of masa harina with 1/4 cup of water to create a slurry. Add to simmering sauce until smooth. Reduce oil to 1½ tablespoons. Canned tomatoes could be substituted for the fresh. Just make sure you could the sauce a little longer to eliminate all the raw flavors of the tomato. This sauce works well for enchiladas, chiles rellenos, huevos rancheros, tortas ahogadas, burritos…

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