Photo by Sonia Mendez Garcia

Salsa Ranchera

Cuisine: Mexican
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 2 cups
Tangy tomatillos combined with smoky chile ancho and chile de arbol yield a delicious salsa with a kick!

I remember going home to L.A. and trips to the giant Dollar store. Mom would purchase at least 10 jars of La Costeña brand Salsa Ranchera. There weren’t many commercial brands she liked, but this one was delicious! This is my homemade version of that salsa ranchera but prepared with chile de árbol, which gives the salsa a wonderful smoky quality. You could prepare this recipe using a few jalapeños for a milder version of the salsa. Serve with chips or as a garnish for your favorite Mexican food.

I always like to prepare homemade salsas whenever I can. I know we don't always have the time or the patience, and there are many store-bought salsas that are pretty good. But you can't duplicate the fresh flavors and aroma of a homemade sauce. And the good news is that many salsas are incredibly easy to make and require only a few ingredients.


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  1. Remove the stems and seeds from the chile ancho. If chile de arbol has stems, remove them as well, leaving seeds intact.
  2. Add all of the ingredients, minus the oregano, cumin and salt, to a pot. Cover with water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and cook for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let steep for 20 minutes.
  3. Drain the water and transfer to the blender. Add the oregano, cumin and salt to taste. Blend on high until smooth. Taste for salt. Cool completely before storing in your refrigerator in an airtight storage container.

Chef Notes

When preparing large amounts of cooked salsa, store in an airtight container in the coldest section of your refrigerator. Only remove the quantity you may use in one sitting.

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