Mexican Ranchero Sauce Recipe

This Mexican Ranchero Sauce Recipe is a perfect sauce for Mexican food featuring preserved garden tomatoes.

| August/September 2008

This Mexican Ranchero Sauce Recipe is a perfect sauce for Mexican food featuring preserved garden tomatoes.

Mexican Ranchero Sauce Recipe

The foundation of this sauce is grilled tomatoes and onions. I toast them over my gas grill. Traditionally they are grilled over an open fire on a flat cast iron skillet called a comal. You could also roast them under an electric broiler or on a charcoal grill.

Like many classic Mexican sauces, this one is “fried,” and it's great in enchiladas, casseroles, huevos rancheros, and over chili rellenos. I keep plenty in the freezer to use in a wide variety of recipes.

1 medium white onion, peeled and quartered
6 to 8 large paste tomatoes (alternative: 1 1/2 pounds tomatillos, husked)
2 cloves garlic, unpeeled
1 to 2 serrano peppers
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp sugar (optional)
1/2 tsp dried Mexican oregano
freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Grill the onion and tomatoes, turning occasionally with tongs so they cook evenly. The object is to lightly brown the outsides but not cook them through or they’ll disintegrate. In a dry pan, toast the garlic and peppers until the skins are brown. Peel the garlic, remove the seeds from the serranos, and peel and seed the tomatoes.

Purée all the vegetables in a food processor. Heat the oil in a saucepan, and add the vegetables. Add the salt, sugar and oregano, and simmer for about 20 minutes. If the tomatoes are acidic, add more sugar. Season with freshly ground black pepper. Yields 2 cups.

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