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This Tex Mex chili gravy, also called Mexican brown gravy, has everything you love about traditional brown gravy with a zesty Mexican twist. One bite and this flavorful fusion recipe is sure to have you hooked!
Today’s recipe for Mexican brown gravy is a shining example of Tex Mex Cuisine. This mouthwatering sauce has all the comforting flavors and textures of your favorite Thanksgiving gravy with the added bonus of Mexican spices. Fiercely flavorful, familiar, and rich all at once!
Chili gravy is simple and inexpensive to make. This recipe will yield about 3 cups, which is perfect for my Tex Mex cheese enchiladas and similar recipes. If you end up with leftovers, they can be stored in the refrigerator for 3-4 days or in the freezer for up to 6 months.
Table of Contents
- Bacon Fat – Adds a rich, savory, and smoky flavor. Vegetable lard can be used instead.
- All-Purpose Flour – Serves as a thickening agent without changing the flavor.
- Chili Seasoning – A flavorful blend featuring chile peppers, cumin, garlic, Mexican oregano, and more. Try my banging DIY version or look for it in the spice aisle.
- Ground Cumin – Infuses the gravy with a warm, smoky, and inviting flavor.
- Onion Powder – Adds a sweet pungency without the sharp bit of fresh onion.
- Garlic Powder – Brings a pungent, zesty kick with a hint of earthy sweetness.
- Kosher Salt – Harmonizes and accentuates all the other ingredients without too much saltiness.
- Black Pepper – Perks up the recipe with a piney, peppery punch.
- Mexican Oregano – Offers a bright, grassy flavor with hints of citrus. Marjoram is the herb closest in flavor if you need a substitute.
- Beef Broth – Creates volume along with its rich, savory, aromatic profile.
- Brown the Flour. Place a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the bacon fat, heat, and then whisk in the flour. Cook for about 3-5 minutes, or until the mixture turns a light yellow to golden brown color.
- Stir in Broth & Spices. Carefully pour in the broth along with the cumin, onion powder, garlic powder, Kosher salt, black pepper, and Mexican oregano. Whisk the gravy until it thickens and has a smooth texture.
- Simmer. Reduce heat to low. Simmer the gravy for about 10 minutes, adding water or beef stock if a thinner texture if desired.
What to do if your gravy is too thick
Thin out your chili gravy with a bit more broth or water. Just remember that any time you add additional ingredients, the recipe will come out a bit differently.
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It’s a clever combination of classic brown gravy and Mexican chili sauce ingredients.
Like all brown gravy recipes, chili gravy relies on fat (lard or bacon fat in this case), a flour-based roux, and beef broth as its savory, starchy, and smooth foundation. From there, spices transform average brown gravy into Mexican brown gravy.
Smoky cumin, spicy chili powder, Mexican oregano, and zesty garlic infuse the recipe with a mouthwatering Mexican flavor. This mouthwatering mash-up of a recipe is the essence of Tex-Mex!
If your Tex-Mex chili gravy comes out a little on the thin side, don’t panic. There are a few different ways to address the issue.
– Simmer & Reduce: One of the simplest ways to thicken Mexican brown gravy, or any gravy, is to simmer it longer. I prefer this method because it doesn’t alter the flavor profile of the recipe like other methods can. However, if 15 minutes doesn’t do the trick, it might be better to consider one of the other options.
– Add More Flour: Simply stir in a bit more or mix it with a little water first. Try ½ to 1 teaspoon at a time, stir, then wait a few minutes before adding more.
– Use A Cornstarch Slurry: Cornstarch is a reliably effective thickener, but you can’t add it straight to the Mexican brown gravy or it will create lumps. Instead, make a slurry by mixing the cornstarch with an equal amount of water before whisking it into the sauce.
Chili gravy is a Tex-Mex lover’s dream! Incorporate this sensational sauce into any and all of your favorite Tex-Mex, Mexican, or All-American meals. Here are a few ideas to get you inspired:
– It’s the ideal enchilada sauce for Tex Mex Cheese Enchiladas.
– Swap into Carnitas Pulled Pork Enchiladas, Ground Beef Enchiladas, or other enchilada recipes.
– Serve alongside Mexican side dishes like Charro Beans and Arroz Rojo (Mexican Red Rice).
– Enjoy as you would any brown gravy with recipes like Roasted Mashed Potatoes or Pork Loin and Potatoes.
– Spoon some over savory meats like Marinated Grilled Flank Steak, Brined Turkey Breast, Grilled Pork Tenderloin, or Baked Cubano Chicken.
Tex Mex Chili Gravy (Mexican Brown Gravy)
- Heat the bacon fat over medium-high heat, then whisk in the flour. Cook until it turns a light yellow to golden brown, about 3-5 minutes.
- Add the spices, Mexican oregano and beef broth. Whisk until smooth and it starts to thicken. Turn heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes. Thin with more beef stock or water if needed for a gravy-like consistency.
- This makes about 3 cups total. Nutrition information based on 1/3 cup serving.
- Adapted from The Tex Mex Cookbook.
The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.