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Tejano Red Sauce

Hands-on time 20 mins
Total time 1 hr, 5 mins
Yield Makes 5 cups
This versatile sauce takes its acidity from tomatillos, not vinegar, and its earthy spice from guajillo chiles, which can be found in many supermarkets and Latin groceries. Toast the chiles first to coax out their flavor. Use the sauce to spice up the crawfish boil, or drizzle it on tacos, grilled chicken, or eggs. 


  • 2 pounds tomatillos, husks removed
  • 4 ounces dried guajillo chiles
  • 16 garlic cloves
  • 4 teaspoons olive oil
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons salt

How to Make It

  1. Preheat oven to 500°. Cut tomatillos in half or quarters, depending on size.

  2. Spread chiles in a single layer on a baking sheet; toast 1 to 2 minutes or until chiles puff and become fragrant. (Chiles burn quickly, so keep a watchful eye.) Cut chiles open with kitchen shears; remove seeds. Cut off stems.

  3. Sauté garlic in hot oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat 2 minutes or until garlic begins to brown. Add tomatillos, salt, and 1 qt. water. Bring to a boil, and cook, stirring often, 4 minutes. Add chiles; cook, stirring occasionally, 5 to 10 minutes or until tomatillos are soft and peppers have rehydrated. Cool 10 minutes.

  4. Purée mixture, in batches, in a blender or food processor. Pour through a fine wire-mesh strainer into a container, discarding solids. Cool completely. Refrigerate in an airtight container up to 4 days.

Recipe adapted from Smoke: New Firewood Cooking copyright by Tim Byres. Published by Rizzoli.