Tex Mex Essentials: Down & Dirty Red Sauce

Andy Anderson !


If you were to ask 25 chefs what the difference is between Mexican and Tex Mex cuisine, you would probably get 25 different responses. The problem is that unlike traditional Mexican dishes that have deep historical roots, Tex Mex is constantly evolving and reinventing itself. And, that is a good thing.

This red sauce has aspects of its roots in Mexico, and its neighbor to the North. It is simple to make, and can be prepared hot or mild, depending on your tastes.

So, you ready… Let’s get into the kitchen.


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5 Min
15 Min
Stove Top



  • 2 Tbsp
    grapeseed oil
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp
    ancho chili powder
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp
    chili powder, regular variety, hot or mild
  • 2 tsp
    dehydrated onions, crushed to a powder
  • 1 tsp
    ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp
    garlic powder
  • 2 c
    chicken stock, not broth
  • 2 Tbsp
    flour, all-purpose variety

  • ·
    salt, kosher variety, to taste

How to Make Tex Mex Essentials: Down & Dirty Red Sauce


  1. The heat of this dish is in the chili powder. Keep the balance at 3 tablespoons, but if you want it hotter, use a larger portion of ancho chili powder, and if you want it milder, use less. Just remember, whatever chili powders you choose, you still need a total of three tablespoons.
  2. Gather your Ingredients (mise en place).
  3. Add the grapeseed oil to a saucepan over medium heat.
  4. When the pan heats up, add all the dry spices, except the flour and salt.
  5. Stir and cook until fragrant, about 2 – 3 minutes.
  6. Chef’s Note: There are two ways to “bloom” spices:
    1. Dry Bloom: Stick the spices in a hot pan, and let them heat up… This draws out some of essential oils within the spices.
    2. Oil Bloom: Combine the spices with some non-flavored oil in a hot pan, and allow them to mix.
    In either case, you are enhancing the flavors of the original spices. And, if the spices are old, it can bring new “flavor” life to them.
  7. Whisk the flour into the chicken stock.
  8. Slowly add the chicken stock to the spices, while whisking.
  9. Allow to simmer, until thickened, about 3 – 5 minutes.
  10. Taste for proper seasoning, and add salt, if needed.

    Depending on the type of chili powders I use, I find that in most cases adding salt is unnecessary. But, you are the chef, and the choice is yours to make.
  11. Store in the fridge in a tightly-sealed jar, until needed. It should remain fresh for 7 – 10 days.
  13. Use in any recipe that calls for a red sauce. Enjoy
  14. Keep the faith, and keep cooking.

Printable Recipe Card

About Tex Mex Essentials: Down & Dirty Red Sauce

Course/Dish: Other Sauces
Main Ingredient: Spice/Herb/Seasoning
Regional Style: Mexican
Other Tags: Quick & Easy Heirloom

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