Salsa Ranchera

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This is a recipe for what is marketed as "picante" sauce. Picante is the Spanish word for spicy or spicy hot, and this dish can be adjusted from mild to wild, depending on your taste. I was given the foundation for this recipe by an old girlfriend who still lives in Monterey, Mexico. The original recipe called for boiling the tomato, onion and peppers for about 5 minutes before blending them. Also she only added a little salt and cilantro to her salsa. I "doctored" it up a little and everyone agreed (even the old girlfriend) that it was much more flavorful my way. For the record, I don't boil any ingredient in this recipe. I like the 100% fresh flavor of it. This is the recipe I use to make salsa for my fiance, because, unlike my fiance (and most people) I like mine eardrum burning hot.

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Ingredients [?]

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  • add   1/4 cup ground cumin
  • add   1 lime
  • add   1 tablespoon paprika (for color) (optional)
  • add   4 cloves garlic (Aprox 1? - 2 Tblsp chopped Garlic)
  • add   1/2 cup of loosely packed cilantro leaves
  • add   1 teaspoon salt
  • add   1 serrano chili pepper (3" long, stem removed)
  • add   4 tomatoes (2?" - 3" in diameter -- the redder the better)
  • add   1/2 yellow onion (2?" - 3" in diameter)
  • add   2 dried arbol chiles (3" long, stems removed)


  1. Section the tomatoes and onion into pieces small enough for your food precessor or blender to work effectively.
  2. I use a blender set on it lowest setting (mine says stir).
  3. **In a blender, slowly add all the ingredients, starting with the tomatoes and onions.
  4. Make sure not to put too much into your blender bowl at any one time, or it will not chop properly.
  5. Once the tomato and onion mixture is nice and smooth, continue to blend and incorporate all the other ingredients.
  6. **In a food processor, add all ingredients to the bowl and pulse until the mixture can withstand the continuoius operation of the food processor.
  7. Process until smooth.
  8. FINAL INSTRUCTIONS-- Get some chips and a family member or a friend to help with the final adjustments.
  9. I usually have to tweek the amount of salt, cumin, cilantro or garlic to make it "perfect".
  10. If the onion or other seasonings are too much, add another tomato.
  11. Your salsa can be enjoyed now, but it is best after an overnight stay in the refridgerator.
  12. To make it the way I like it, I add one more tomato, one more chile arbol, at least one more large serano pepper and one more teaspoon of salt.
  13. I have also substituted the seranos with jalepeños or habeñeros.