Tag Archives: sauce

The Gentleman Caller’s All Purpose Chili Sauce #1

Printable PDF at the bottom of the page!

Knock knock knock.

Gentleman Caller.

Happy New Year, spicy friends.

Are you looking forward to 2017 as much as I am? We always can choose hope over fear. And that’s what we do here at The Gentleman Caller: I am choosing to hope you love this recipe rather than fear it burns your tongue off.

I am kidding! You know I love spicy things, but this, despite being full of chilies, is actually deep in flavors without being overly hot.
Today I present to you The Gentleman Caller’s All Purpose Chili Sauce #1. I say #1 because there will likely be sequels, like with a good movie franchise. Consider this my sauce franchise. Most people think that by the time you get to #3 the franchise has lost its luster, but I promise you that in my sauce franchise I will not offer you a “Rocky 7”, a “Halloween 3”, or a straight to video “The Return of Jafar.” May they all be “The Empire Strikes Back.”

This is an all purpose sauce for use on top of tamales, burritos, really anything Mexican. Yes, I am bastardizing Mexican cooking. I am not Mexican. I am TEXican. Take it or leave it. But when you taste it, you are going to want to TAKE IT.

What you need:
(This is to yield about 2 cups)

  • 8 cloves garlic*
  • 1/4 white onion, rough chopped
  • 2 tablespoons lard (or shortening or vegetable oil)
  • 14-16 guajillo dry chili peppers
  • 1/3 cup canned diced tomatoes**
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 allspice berry, freshly ground (1/4 teaspoon)
  • 1 whole clove, freshly ground (1/8-1/4 teaspoon)
  • 1 teaspoon Mexican oregano
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon masa harina
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken, turkey, pork, or vegetable stock

*If you are a garlic lover (as I am) you may use 8, 10, up to 12 cloves of garlic. If you do, add a little more honey.
**You may substitute Rotel diced tomatoes and green chilies for a bit more punch.

Use your kitchen shears to snip the stem off your chilies. Cut a slit up the center of the skin; use your thumb to remove the seeds.
Fill a saucepan or metal mixing bowl half full of very hot water (over 120 degrees). In a dry cast iron or any pan that gets really hot, roast the chilies on high heat till they begin to smoke a bit. You will be able to smell them. Transfer the chilies to the hot water bowl. They should be covered. Allow steeping for at least 15 minutes.

In a large saucepan or small Dutch oven, melt 1 tablespoon of the lard. Sauté the onion. As the onion cooks, smash the garlic cloves and add them to the onion/lard sauté. Add the tomatoes to sort of deglaze them. Add half the chicken stock and allow to come to simmer. By  now the chilies should have steeped. Add them to this mixture. Pour this entire mixture into a blender carafe and process at high speed until very smooth. Warning: hot liquid in the blender tends to explode on you. Either leave the lid ajar or process in half batches.

Once that mixture is smooth, you can re-use the pan or Dutch oven you just used to melt the remaining lard. Delicately whisk in the masa. Keep stirring as it begins to bubble. Add all the spices and allow them to open up. Pour the contents of the blender into the masa mixture. Whisk it as it comes to a simmer. If it’s too thick, add more stock. Add the honey. Taste for salt level; based on how salty your stock is, you might require more salt.

Simmer while whisking slowly for about 15 minutes. Turn off the heat and allow it to sit and marry.
Taste again before serving to test for salt and sweet levels. If it needs it, add more salt or honey. You be the judge. Be judicious.

This sauce is obviously not difficult and packs a flavor wallop. You can dip quesadillas in it. You can pour it on simple ground beef for tacos. I invented it for tamales. But we pour Ranch dressing on anything. Think of this as Tex-Mex Ranch Dressing.
That’s it for now. Olé caballeros.
The Gentleman Caller


The Gentleman’s Spagheeeti & Meatballs – so comforting they can even get you through an election

Printable PDF at the bottom of the page!

Knock knock knock.

Gentleman Caller.

Mamma Mia, dear readers! It’s Spagheeeti & Meatball day! Why spagheeeti, you ask? Do you ever watch Giada DeLaurentis on TV? She’s perfectly American until she has to tell you about ingredients or the name of a dish. It tickles me endlessly. There was a newscaster in Houston that did it, too, and I can’t explain it but I find it hilarious. “Elma BaRRRRReRRRRa, Eyewitness News.”

Anyway, spaghetti and meatballs is one of my most favorite comfort foods. I’ve always known how to make the magic happen, but lately I have been “Italian-ized” based on the company I keep and I picked up some really good tricks. Mostly I’ve un-bastardized some of my old notions about this delicious dish.

This takes some time. It’s worth it. Andiamo! Facciamolo!

What you need for sauce:

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 lb boneless pork shoulder
  • 1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 28 oz can tomato puree
  • 1 6 oz can tomato paste
  • 5 or 6 basil leaves
  • 8-10 cloves garlic
  • 1 cup beef stock
  • 1 tbsp kosher salt
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tbsp white pepper

Heat the olive oil in a dutch oven. While it is heating up, cut pork shoulder in an approximate half. Sprinkle a little salt and pepper on both sides of one of the halves; the other half will be cubed for later and set aside. Put the seasoned pork shoulder in the oil and achieve a sear on both sides.

Smash your garlic cloves with a pastry scraper or a chef’s knife. There’s no need to mince it further unless you are REALLY averse to a piece of garlic in the sauce. This is going to cook forever and most of it will likely break up. Toss in the bay leaf, too. Allow the oil to kind of coat the garlic and bay leaf; keep things moving. Bruise or tear the basil leaves and throw them in. Immediately add the tomato products and stock. If there’s a lot of tomato mess still in the cans, add a little hot water to the can, swirl it a bit, and pour it in. A little water isn’t going to hurt anything. Add salt, sugar, and pepper. Bring the mixture to a simmer. Keep it at a nice baby simmer for at least 6 hours. 8 is better. 10 is magic. If it starts looking thick, add a little water. You will very likely have to do this a couple of times.


What you need for the meatballs:

  • 1 lb cubed sirloin*
  • 1 lb cubed pork shoulder (the other half of the one you used to make the sauce)*
  • 5 garlic cloves*
  • Leaves of about 5 sprigs fresh oregano*
  • Leaves of about 5 sprigs fresh flat leaf parsley*
  • 1 cup of breadcrumbs
  • 1 cup of ricotta cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tbsp kosher salt
  • 1 tbsp white pepper
  • 1 tbsp ground Italian seasoning
  • 1 tbsp onion powder
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder

*If you aren’t grinding your own meat, 1 lb ground round, 1 lb ground pork, 5 minced garlic cloves, 1/4 cup minced fresh oregano, 1/4 cup minced fresh parsley

Fire up your meat grinder! Alternate beef, pork, garlic, oregano and parsley. The grinder will bring the ingredients together. (video)

Once the meat is ground, gently add breadcrumbs, Worcestershire sauce, eggs, salt, pepper, Italian seasoning, onion powder and garlic powder. Don’t over mix. Gently fold in ricotta. Don’t over mix.


Using a spoon or ice cream scoop (for perfect portions), form meatballs, careful not to squish them too much. You want the lightness to remain intact. Line them up on a piece of pan release sprayed foil on a sheet pan. Bake in a 400 degree oven for 25 minutes. Check them. They might need  5 more minutes depending on size – BUT DO NOT OVERCOOK THEM.


In the final hour of the sauce simmering, add the meatballs to the pot. Try to avoid stirring too much and disturbing them. Allow the sauce to rest for about a half hour before you serve it, and be sure you taste it for salt. Differing brands of stock have different levels of sodium. You’ll probably be in good shape, but taste it.

While the sauce rests, cook your pasta. I chose a thin linguine. Don’t overcook it. When you turn it into the colander to drain, dress the pasta with a drizzle of olive oil. I like to micro plane a piece of garlic and toss fresh chopped basil, oregano and parsley in the pasta. It really gives it a pop. I know this is untraditional, but it’s delicious.

Plate as you like. If you like to toss your pasta with sauce, do it. I like to put the pasta in a bowl and then put the sauce and balls on top with more herbs and fresh grated parmeggiano.  Do it the way you like. You’re the one who has to eat it!

I hope you enjoy this dish because it reminds me of my sweet Mawmaw. One of those sentimental dishes that conjure beautiful memories of loved ones. Make this for your loved ones and they’ll always think of you when they eat it in the future.

And I am signing off!

Cioa for now – The Gentleman Caller