Home-Made Ancho Steak Sauce


Making your own steak sauce from whole food ingredients is easy. If you're not a steak eater, serve it as a dipping sauce for grilled vegetables or brush a bit onto skewers of freshly grilled chicken, shrimp, or scallops. Freeze what you don't use within a few days and thaw it this winter to serve as a condiment with roasted meats.

The base of this sauce is mildly spicy dried chili peppers, tomato, caramelized onion, and vegetable stock. Other aromatics like oregano, rosemary, clove, garlic, and anchovies give it a deep, earthy, and complex flavor that pairs well with grass-fed beef. I add a touch of vinegar to give it a pleasingly sharp note that can brighten up heavy and fatty foods.

Ancho chilies are dried poblano peppers and they're low on the scale of spiciness. If you don't have anchos, you can substitute mulato or pasilla chili peppers, which are also mild. If you want a spicy sauce, add a dried chipotle pepper along with the anchos.

If you don't like anchovies, add one anyway. It will lend a savory flavor that isn't the least bit fishy.

This recipe yields about 2 cups of steak sauce.  

2 dried ancho chili peppers and seeds, stems removed, torn into 1-inch pieces
¼ cup roughly chopped sun-dried tomatoes 
¼ teaspoon dried ground oregano leaves
¼ teaspoon dried ground rosemary leaves
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
¼ teaspoon freshly ground peppercorn
1½ cups bone broth 
1 anchovy
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup diced onion
  1. Add the chili peppers, tomatoes, oregano, rosemary, clove, and ground peppercorn to a glass bowl or large measuring cup.
  2. Warm the stock in a small saucepan until it starts to simmer. Pour all but a quarter cup or so (enough to deglaze a skillet later) over the dried aromatics. Stir and make sure that all of the ingredients are submerged. Set the mixture aside and allow it to cool to room temperature.
  3. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a small skillet over medium-low heat. Add the onions to the butter and cook, stirring only occasionally, until browned and caramelized, about 30 minutes. 
  4. Re-heat the remainder of the stock. Once hot, pour it into the skillet with the onions. Add the anchovy. Stir to dissolve the anchovy and any brown bits on the bottom of the pan. Set the mixture aside to cool.
  5. Transfer the cooled onion mixture and the cooled pepper mixture to a Vitamix or blender. Purée until completely smooth, scraping down the sides as needed.
  6. Taste the mixture and make any necessary adjustments. Because of the anchovy, you probably won't need to add any salt. 
  7. Serve immediately or store in a labeled air-tight container in the fridge for future use.