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You'll notice that this recipe is very similar to the other Ranchero Sauce recipe, but there are some subtitle differences, as this recipe does not include sugar or vinegar, it uses canned tomatoes, and the peppers and onion are grilled.  Don't be worried that this recipe skimps on flavor by using canned tomatoes, but be sure to use the variety that the recipe calls for.  You'll love this smoky tasting salsa!

Special tools:  Cast iron 4-quart chicken cooker or pot, any grill; I use electric indoor grill sometimes
Preparation time:  About 20 minutes
Cooking time:  About 10 minutes to grill, and about 10 minutes to cook
Yield:  6 generous servings

2  14-1/2 oz cans S&W Ready-Cut tomatoes, Diced with Roasted Garlic; DO NOT SUBSTITUTE
1/2 large white onion, layers separated, cut into 1" by 2" pieces or thin round sections; not critical
2 jalapeno peppers, seeded, stems removed and sliced in half, lengthwise
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon hickory-flavored liquid smoke
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt, or more to taste
1/4 cup
Chicken or Turkey stock, use homemade stock for superior taste
1 tablespoon olive oil
Non-stick cooking oil, we prefer PAM

Heat grill to high heat.  Meanwhile, prepare onion half and jalapeno peppers using classic "stir fry" techniques. Slice onion in half, removing outer skin and any undesirable outer layers.  Separate layers, cut to rectangles about 1" by 2" size is not critical.  Reserve.

Cut jalapeno peppers in half, lengthwise; see illustration.  Remove veins, seeds and stem.  Reserve.

When grill is hot, spray with cooking oil, avoiding flareups.  Place jalapeno peppers and onion slices, round side down, on grill. Cook about 7 minutes, turn over, and cook another 3 minutes.  Pepper halves and onion slices should have pronounced grill marks.  Remove from grill and reserve.

Left:  Grilling jalapeno pepper halves and onion slices and skins cooking on an electric indoor grill.  Note grill marks, essential for the presentation and smoky flavor.  Right:  I've brought the sauce to a boil, and will start to simmer the sauce for about 10 minutes, or "until its done..."

Meanwhile, open cans of tomatoes and add to chicken cooker.  When peppers and onion are cool enough, dice and place in pot with tomato mixture.  Add remainder of ingredients to pot.  Bring to boil, reduce heat to low, and allow ingredients to simmer for about 10 minutes.  Stir every minute of so.  If liquid evaporates, add additional chicken stock.  Remove from stove and add fresh chopped cilantro.  Serve immediately.

If you don't finish all of your Ranchero Sauce, it will keep refrigerated for about 3 or 4 days if you store it in a tightly closed container.  In fact, I think it tastes better on the second or third day, as the ingredients have had ample chance to really blend together.

I know, I know that my recipes don't usually include products that are canned, but S&W makes an exceptional product and the garlic is already included and smoked.  Not to mention that this recipe is super-easy to make.

Any grill will work, as I frequently use an electric grill that I perch on the island in our kitchen, and it gives the desired results.  Since the jalapeno pepper halves are thicker than the onion skins, they will probably take longer to cook, so you will want to keep that in mind.  The idea is to have grill marks on the pepper halves and the onion skins, or round sections, as the grill marks look attractive and the are a visual clue that the veggie is done.  I'm sorry that I can't give you exact cooking times, but if you know anything about grilling, you'll realize that there are an infinite number of variables among grills, and grillers.

Left:  Here's an extreme close-up of my Smoky Ranchero Sauce, at a distance of about 3 inches.  Right:  Smoky Ranchero Sauce tops my favorite mixture of corn, broccoli and chopped peppers for a delicious and healthy side dish to any meal.

This Ranchero Sauce, goes on just about anything.  I especially love it on cooked vegetables and baked potatoes, as it serves in place of butter or dressing, and it adds a rich, smoky taste to whatever in compliments. Note the fact that all of the ingredients are natural, so this salsa not only tastes good, but its good for you.  If you're on a diet, like I seem to be a great deal of the time, you'll welcome the taste, but you won't miss the calories.

This salsa is smoky-good!


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