Ranchero Sauce

Ah yes, a ranchero sauce for us gringos. There’s enough heat to make the sauce interesting, but not enough to be painful! Very tasty; even Our Kate of the Sensitive Mouth ate it. I confess that I normally double up the recipe and freeze some for later. My frozen peppers come in 16oz packets, and I’d rather not have 1/2 tin of tomatoes left in the fridge afterwards. Its flavor is remarkably ‘fresh’ despite the tinned ingredients. Even the jalapeño is tinned, which I buy ready roasted and chopped in small cans from the supermarket. I guess for hardened Mexican food eaters, this is a reasonable quantity to use up in a short amount of time. We, however, only eat small amounts, so whenever I open a tin, I tip the rest into a small freezer bag, and freeze (flattened out so it’s easy to break off small pieces) for later use.

Ranchero sauce before blending.

We love this sauce for breakfast over refried beans. It’s also an interesting addition to layered bakes such as Potato Layer Bakes, Mexican Lasagnas, Eggplant Layer Bakes, and it makes an excellent alternative for marinara sauce as a pizza topping.

1 tbsp margarine (I use Earth Balance)
1/2 cup onion (~1/4 of a large onion), diced
2-3 cups (8 oz) mixed sliced peppers (frozen is O.K.)
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 – 1 tsp jalapeño chili, minced
1 tsp dried oregano, or equivalent of fresh
14 oz (1/2 large tin) chopped tinned tomatoes, with juices
1/2 tsp salt
1-2 tsps of sugar if necessary to counteract acidic tomatoes

Ranchero sauce after blending. Note that the sauce isn’t smooth. I like my sauce slightly lumpy, but if you want yours smooth, go ahead and blend for a few more seconds.

Melt the margarine in a medium sized saucepan over a medium heat, and gently cook the onion, peppers, garlic, and chili for about 10 minutes.
Add the remaining ingredients and simmer for a further 10 minutes to allow the flavors to meld.
Either transfer the sauce to a full size food processor or use a stick blender, and pulse to reduce all lumps to no bigger than a pea, but do not puree.
Return to the pan (if you used a processor) and simmer until the sauce has thickened (~5 minutes).
Check seasoning, and serve hot.

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2 thoughts on “Ranchero Sauce

  1. David West says:

    My mother used to make this sauce on occasion way back (in my language the recipe title was “Devil’s Sauce”). She would make it for steak and hasselback potatos, with a salad on the side with a garlic vinaigrette. I haven’t had it for so long, and I can’t wait to try it again (by it’s true name). Of course as a vegetarian, you could substitute the steak for one made of shredded celeriac.

    Points for mentioning freezing the peppers “flat”. Everything I freeze I freeze in layers using double cling film in between.

    On a final note. For a Louisiana variation of this recipe, try adding some finely chopped celery to get that holy trinity working.

    Peace

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