A few weeks ago we had another rare Sunday without kids. We had made fajitas earlier in the week, and had leftover frijoles refritos (I tend to keep mine chunky, as opposed to a puree). So Trish suggested Huevos Rancheros, sounded fine by me, but after that recent visit to San Antonio I wanted real Salsa Ranchero. The recipe that has always worked for me is a variant of one appearing in Matt Martinez's Culinary Frontier, which threw me at first because it inclusion of celery, but it really works well.
Two other random factors combined to make this salsa work. The first is that my friend Andrew Galarneau of the Buffalo News and blogmeister of Buffalo Buffet. dropped off some dried chillis for me to share, including Ancho, Gaujillo, de Arbol and Cascabels. Lightly toasted and shredded they would make a a great addition, and one of each would give a balanced heat.
The other factor is that I think I have finally nailed down what I want from an all purpose mexican seasoning blend. I already have my dry BBQ rub, a Cajun seasoning I call Mab!, and a southwest sesoning blend. Penzey's Bangkok Blend is just too good to try to imitate, so southeast Asia is taken care of. But, while I am not giving upon Mole's and other wonderful mexican sauces, I wan't something I can sprinkle on a flank steak or some ground beef that says Mexico rather than New Mexico. I think I have it:
Mexican Spice Blend:
3 Tbl. Ancho Chilli Powder
1 Tsp. Chipotle Chilli Powder of Smoked Paprika
1 Tsp. Ground Black Pepper
1.5 Tsp. Mexican Oregano, Crumbled
1 Tsp. Granulated Garlic
1 Tsp. Granulated Onion
2 Tsp. Dark Brown Sugar
1/2 Tsp. Granulated Sugar
2 Tsp. Cumin, Toasted and Ground
2 Tsp. Coriander, Toasted and Ground
1 Tsp. Cocao Powder
1 Tsp. Ground Cinnamon
As for the Ranchero Salsa,
Toast 1 Ancho, 1 Gaujillo, 1 de Arbol and 1 Cascabel chilli (or a combination to your taste) in a cast iron skillet.
Heat two Tbl. of neutral oil in a heavy saucepot or skillet and saute:
1 Cup of finely chopped white onion
1/2 Cup of finely chopped celery
And the chillies, shedded by hand
for 2 to three minutes.
add a Tbl. or so of the spice blend, 1 Tbl. Cornstarch, a 14.5 ounce can of whole tomatoes and two cups of chichen or beef broth.
Simmer for about 1/2 hour and combine in a blender in batches.
Don't worry Andrew, I have a pint in the freezer with your name on it!