pounds/about 100 ounces canned whole, peeled plum tomatoes and their juices (or one restaurant-style No. 10 can)
bunch cilantro, leaves and stems washed and roughly chopped
cup peeled garlic cloves
serrano chiles, stems and seeds removed then roughly chopped
guajillo chiles, stems detached
tablespoon achiote paste
Kosher salt, to taste
- Combine everything in a large pot or rondeau, and simmer over gentle heat for 1 hour, stirring occasionally to prevent any scorching on the bottom. Add a little water if it becomes any thicker than ketchup. Allow to cool before puréeing.
- Working in a blender in batches, purée until smooth. Check the salt seasoning. Let cool.
- Transfer to quart or pint containers, and stock your freezer, or put the sauce in something more attractive — rubber-sealed jars with hinged lids? — to make gifts of the stuff. Ranchero sauce keeps well in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks, or in the freezer for up to 1 year. (It may separate a little, in which case you can simply reheat and give a new buzz in a blender to reunify.)