As a Northerner, I realize I probably am not exactly the person who people will go to for Tex-Mex cooking tips. I ask you not to judge, though, since I know a good ranchero sauce when I see one. Ranchero sauce is somewhat rare in the New York City area, but it’s still an amazing sauce for almost any type of Tex-Mex flavor. A cousin of classic enchilada sauce, ranchero is a more tomato-based type of sauce that works best drizzled on everything in sight.
If you’re like me, you yearn to see this sauce in more Mexican restaurants and taco stands. So, why not make some at home? Here’s a quick recipe I personally adore, and think you will, too.
Why Make Ranchero Sauce?
A good ranchero sauce can turn an otherwise drab enchilada into a crazy-good treat. It also makes for a nice hot dip for chips, if you’re into that kind of thing. Did I mention it’s delicious? Cause it’s so delicious. It also can keep for a couple of days, so you can make both breakfast and dinner with it.
Before You Begin: The Ingredients
Getting good ingredients is a must if you want to make a good sauce…or anything, really. Gather these ingredients, and you can start making some delicious sauce:
- 3 Diced Plum Tomatoes. Fresh is a must.
- 1/2 Large White Onion. I set aside the other half for taco toppings or similar uses.
- 1 Jalapeno. Keep it fresh and chop it up.
- 1 Adobo-Marinated Chipotle Pepper. You can either find these canned or you can do it yourself.
- 2 Small Cloves Garlic. Mince this. If you like extra garlic, you can add just a little more.
- 1/2 Teaspoon Each of Dried Oregano and Paprika. This is a must.
- 1/4 Teaspoon Salt. I also put aside extra to taste.
- 1 Lime, Juiced. Key limes are best.
- 1/4 Cup Cilantro. The cilantro you pick should be coarsely chopped.
- 1/2 Cup Chicken Stock. I prefer the boullion cube type or this recipe.
- A Dash of Taco Seasoning. That’s just how I get that nice, extra savory touch to my ranchero sauce. You don’t have to add it if you don’t want to.
Make Your Ranchero!
Now that you have all the ingredients, it’s time to clear out your kitchen and start cooking that deliciously spicy ranchero sauce you’ve been hoping to get.
- Start off by heating a small amount of olive oil (or butter) in a saucepan. You want to use the oil to “grease things up.”
- Add the tomatoes, onion, garlic, jalapeno, pepper, oregano, and paprika. Cook this over a medium heat for 10 minutes. When you’re ready for the next step, the mixture should be thick and the onions should be noticeably soft.
- Next, add the chicken stock. While you’re adding it in, make sure to stir up the sauce. You only need to cook it for 30 seconds to a minute.
- After that, add the cilantro and lime juice. Stir the cilantro in, too. Add the salt and taco seasoning in.
- Grab a blender, and blend it to the consistency you want. A quick pulse will give you chunky, salsa-like ranchero sauce. Keeping it blended longer will give you a consistency that’s more like enchilada sauce.
What Should I Add This Sauce To?
There are a lot of people (myself included) that believe that everything can be made better with ranchero sauce on it. However, there are definitely some dishes that do better with it than others. Tacos, enchiladas, as well as the classic huevos ranchero dish that’s recently become a major trend in the exotic brunch scene, are top picks. Just about any recipe that calls for a rich enchilada sauce can work well with ranchero sauce, too.
To a point, you kind of have to encourage a little experimentation with ranchero sauce. Along with that experimentation being a trademark calling card of a true foodie, ranchero sauce is one of those things that just makes everything taste a little bit better.
Can I Buy Ranchero Sauce?
You can, but I’ll be honest. Finding a good premade sauce isn’t easy, and I’m not just talking about pasta sauce, either. If you’re willing to splurge on shipping, I strongly suggest Texas Brew. That brand has a pretty good taste.