This Homemade Ranchero Sauce is my take on a popular red sauce used in Tex-Mex cooking. I use it drizzled over eggs to make huevos rancheros, for homemade enchiladas or as a taco sauce. The amount of heat can be personalized to your taste. For example, if you’re spice shy, be certain to remove all seeds and ribs from the inside of the peppers. Likewise, if you fall into the category of “the hotter the better” add some red pepper flakes, or a chipotle pepper to the mix or double up on the Serrano chiles. This version suits our taste leaving room for adding more heat depending on the dish I choose to serve it with.
One of the peppers I use in my ranchero sauce are guajillo chiles, a dried chili pepper very commonly used in Mexican cooking. On the heat scale, they tend to be on the mild side and lend a depth of flavor to the sauce that makes it ever-so-tasty and authentic in flavor. The skin is tough, so take time to let them soak in hot water which will soften the skin making them easier to chop. Guajillo chiles are readily available in the Hispanic foods section of most any local supermarket.
Just like an Italian red sauce ranchero sauce keeps beautifully in the freezer and the flavor becomes even more robust the longer it sits. Package it in 2 cup portions to freeze and pull it out next time you’d like to make a quick batch of huevos rancheros for breakfast or enchiladas for dinner.
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Helpful Kitchen Items:
Homemade Ranchero Sauce
- 1 medium sweet onion diced
- 3 dried Guajillo peppers soaked in hot water, seeded and diced
- 1 serano pepper chopped
- 1 medium jalapeno pepper chopped
- 3 clove garlic minced
- vegetable oil
- 1  oz can pureed tomatoes
- 1  oz can fire roasted tomatoes or diced tomatoes and green chilies
- 1  oz chicken broth
- 3 Tbsp chopped cilantro
- 1 Tbsp cumin
- 1 Tbsp dark chili powder
- 1 1/2 tsp seasoned salt [more or less to taste]
- 1 tsp ancho chili powder or smoked paprika
- 1 tsp Mexican oregano
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1 lime juiced
- Before you begin, place the guajillo peppers in a shallow dish and cover with hot water. Sit for 15-20 minutes then seed and chop.
- In a large skillet over medium high heat, saute the diced onion and peppers in a couple of drizzles of vegetable oil. Season lightly with seasoned salt and black pepper.
- Saute for 2-3 minutes until softened and beginning to brown then add the minced garlic. Saute for 1 minute.
- Add the remaining ingredients. Lower the temperature and continue to simmer, gently bubbling, uncovered for 40-45 minutes to reduce and thicken. Stir periodically.
- After reducing add the juice of 1 lime. Ladle into a stand blender or use an immersion blender to blend until smooth.
- Cool and freeze or serve over huevos rancheros, homemade enchiladas or as a taco sauce.